Great Britain

Army Major tackles gruelling week of challenges to raise mental health awareness

AN Army officer is tackling a week of 24-hour endurance events with no rest to raise funds and awareness for a veterans’ mental health charity.

Major Simon “Sip” Powers, Officer Commanding of 600 HQ Squadron, part of 6 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps at Dishforth, is leaving the forces this year on medical grounds and is dedicating his time to serving the charity Combat Stress.

The charity delivers specialist treatment and support to former servicemen and women with complex mental health issues.

Major Powers, who has 34-years of military service under his belt, has been planning the seven day “Enduro7” challenge for two years and it will finally take place following months of training on June 28.

It starts with a constant abseil from Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium, followed by a 30km road cycle around Thirsk, Ripon and Dishforth.

Rock climbing, the Three Peaks challenge and kayaking along Ripon Canal are some of the other events taking place across the seven days.

Each one will last for 24-hours and will test Major Powers and his team’s physical and mental fortitude, with a target of raising £25,000 for Combat Stress.

All of these challenges will be completed without proper sleep.

The only rest Major Powers will gain is during travel between the challenge locations

Major Powers said: “The event has been designed to be exhausting, but also demonstrate the effects of dealing with mental illness.

“It will be a gruelling undertaking, but it is still nothing compared to what some of the men and women I have worked with are going through on a daily basis after they leave the armed forces.”

Major Powers has worked with the Ministry of Defence’s Battle Back training programme for wounded, injured and sick personnel for nine years, in partnership with Help For Heroes and The Royal British Legion.

During this time, he has worked with hundreds of people who have been wounded in service, some of whom have continued to battle with their mental health and some have even taken their own lives.

Major Powers said: “288 service personnel have taken their own lives over the last ten-years, which is double the previous decade and is a growing problem."

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