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Bourne soldier defies PTSD and arthritis to take on treks in bid to pass £30,000 mark for Help For Heroes





A former soldier has pledged to ‘motor on’ through the pain of rheumatoid arthritis as he takes on a series of fundraising treks for Help For Heroes.

Adrian Pearson, from Bourne, aims to complete three challenges organised by the UK Armed Forces and military veterans charity this year, starting with the 18km Mount Snowdon Challenge on Saturday, May 18.

Having already done the charity’s Lincolnshire Wolds walk, Adrian wants to complete the series by taking on one-day treks in the Yorkshire Dales, in August, and Dartmoor, in September.

Adrian has tackled Snowdon previous in a night-time challenge three years ago
Adrian has tackled Snowdon previous in a night-time challenge three years ago

A supporter of Help For Heroes for several years, Snowdon will be his 10th endurance challenge and he needs less than £500 more to hit the £30,000 overall fundraising mark.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped because it is their donations that have got us to £30,000 - I’ve just been the link,” said Adrian whose fundraising was recognised with an award from Help For Heroes in 2018.

“They have helped to enrich the lives of our wounded and sick service personnel.”

Adrian completed a fundraising trek in Machu Picchu in 2022
Adrian completed a fundraising trek in Machu Picchu in 2022

Adrian joined the British Army aged 16 and completed four tours in Northern Ireland with the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards during The Troubles.

There he was shot at by snipers, injured by shotgun blasts, and encountered improvised explosive devices, and like many veterans who have seen active service, he developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The former guardsman found no support network when he left the military with an exemplary record.

Adrian at the Help for Heroes recovery centre at Tedworth House
Adrian at the Help for Heroes recovery centre at Tedworth House

“I was on sick leave for eight months and then it was ‘thanks, see you later’,” he recalled.

“That is the motivator for me. Thankfully servicemen and women don’t have to go through that anymore.”

Adrian believes the charity has helped change people’s perceptions of the military, having suffered derision and threats during and after his time in the forces.

Adrian receives his national award from Help For Heroes in 2018 from Emma and Brynn Parry
Adrian receives his national award from Help For Heroes in 2018 from Emma and Brynn Parry

Fundraising has also helped give him focus in his battles with PTSD and he now wants to buy a trike and trailer so he can do more ‘crazy fundraising activities’ for Help For Heroes up and down the country.

“That’s the commitment I made based on the lack of care available when I was very ill, institutionalised and back at square minus-10,” he said.

“Originally I said I’d like to raise enough donations to pay for an injured serviceman to walk again with a prosthetic leg.

“I had no idea how much that would cost so I kept on going.”

Adrian says he has enjoyed good health during his life, but in recent years has been diagnosed with type two diabetes, kidney problems and now arthritis.

A physiotherapist noticed signs of it in his right knee three years ago which Adrian kept it in check with exercises.

Now it has spread to both knees, hips, ankles and fingers, but he is determined not to be limited by the condition.

“When the tests came back they said it was borderline, but it’s really painful,” he said.

“I’ll motor on through anyway.”

To do so, Adrian will summon the spirit that got him through the 100km Jurassic Coast walk with four broken ribs, two years ago.

“I was in bits, but I had to keep going and fighting through the pain,” he said.

“That’s the mentality of the army - failure is not an option. So I came up with an ‘invisible’ sergeant major pushing me on.”

To donate to Adrian’s Snowdon trek, visit his JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/Heroes-Hikes-Mount-Snowdon-by-Day-May-18th-2024

He will also be fundraising at Tesco’s in Market Deeping on Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12 before he sets off for Wales.



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