A Lancashire Adult Learning teacher and former Army medic has teamed up with four pals from Burnley FC in the Community’s Veterans team for a gruelling charity challenge this weekend.
Craig Harrison, a Health and Wellbeing teacher at LAL, is taking on the arduous Soldier 30:30 race across Exmoor with fellow Army veterans Gary Parish, Joseph Gribble, Chris Findlay – all from the Lancaster and Morecambe area – and Danny Fort from Burnley.
The group will be trekking 30km with 30lbs on their backs on Saturday across the wilds of the national park to raise money for the FirstLight Trust, a charity helping ex-service men and women of the military and emergency services.
Their training has involved hill walking in Cumbria and Lancashire with some sponsored runs thrown in for good measure too. With four out of the five members of the team playing for Burnley Veterans, Burnley FC in the Community has offered weekly sessions to the veterans focusing on developing core strength and cardio fitness to help them prepare for the challenge, all under the watchful eye of Health and Wellbeing Officer Naomi Greene.
And with Craig working for LAL, members of the team have also completed several courses under its Health and Wellbeing provision. These include Food Safety Level 2, Health and Safety Level 2, Lancashire Lifesavers – in conjunction with BBC Radio Lancashire and the North West Ambulance Service – and Emergency First Aid at work to improve their skills and confidence prior to the event.
Craig said: “I’m delighted that this opportunity has come about through partnership work between Lancashire Adult Learning and Burnley FC in the Community. It’s also great that we are in a position to be able to raise money for the FirstLight Trust – a charity very close to the hearts of all of the group – with the brilliant work that they do in helping former service men and women overcome personal barriers.
“While we never served together in the Army, the camaraderie within the group is like the old days, and like many veterans leaving the forces, we have all been able to relate to the same challenges faced when re-joining civilian life.
“I think the courses members of the group have completed with Lancashire Adult Learning have had a positive impact ahead of our challenge, and the fitness regime delivered by Burnley FC in the Community has got us back in to shape ready to tackle what is a tough challenge.”
Naomi said: “For the last seven weeks, the group has been coming in for training with me and the aim was to work on endurance, core and posture to reduce the chance of back pain and stress on joints while also training the muscles to withstand the challenge.
“September was our ‘Health Awareness Month’ with our Veterans so the timing of the challenge has fallen quite nicely.
“All five have shown an increase in fitness as a result of the conditioning as the weeks have progressed, and they should be able to give this challenge their best possible efforts.
“As a charity directly supporting veterans, we recognise the importance of these kind of challenges and using physical activity to bring about positive change. We’re very happy to be working in partnership with Lancashire Adult Learning and we wish the group the very best of luck.”
Donations to the team’s cause can be made at:
In February, Lancashire Adult Learning was named as the national Adult and Community Learning Provider of the Year winner at the Tes FE Awards.
As well as its targeted delivery and partnership work, Lancashire Adult Learning offers a huge range of planned provision across the Red Rose County, from Arts and Crafts to Humanities classes, Languages to Health and Wellbeing sessions and Functional Skills English and Maths and Employability courses.
For more information about LAL, contact 0333 003 1717 or visit www.lal.ac.uk