Military team smash weighty world record in Sunderland
A team of Royal Marine veterans and ex-military personnel have smashed a world record attempt.
The group of 12 strongmen and women took on a weightlifting Guinness World Record by lifting the equivalent of four Angels of the North.
Colin Kelly, an ex-Royal Marines Commando from Seaham, organised the jaw-dropping task, which took place on Saturday.
The small team, which also includes two Sunderland men, Ryan Myers, a personal trainer and Royal Marines Reserve and Michael Kelly, a fitness coach, took on the challenge at The Performance Fitness Centre in the city's Carrmere Rd over 12 gruelling hours.
The 12 men and women lifted more than 800,000kg - that’s the equivalent of lifting four Angels of the North - and donations received on the day will be given to forces mental health charity, Rock 2 Recovery.
The previous world record for the most amount of weight dead lifted by a team of 12 in 12 hours was 762,140kg.
Colin, said: "By lunchtime we were already three quarters of the way there."
Colin, who is a member of the team, Lifting The Stress From Mental Health, found his experiences in operational theaters led to him suffering from debilitating mental health issues.
He was unable to find little effective support available before he discovered Devon-based charity, Rock 2 Recovery.
He said: "I decided to do this because they really helped me and I want to give something back to help others.
"I don't know where I would be now without them, I was in a very, very dark place. Just having that branch of communication to someone who knows what you are talking about and understands how you feel, is amazing."
Now recovered, Colin, who has competed in many weightlifting and strongman competitions, is increasingly worried about the numbers of veterans, like himself, who suffer from mental health issues, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The suicide figures are high among ex-servicemen and women, with an average of one death every two weeks in the UK alone.
Colin, who works abroad in a security role, said: “It’s shocking how many of our veterans have problems with their mental health. There’s very little support available to them, and what support there is usually has long waiting times.
“Counselling services are sparse and centres where suffering veterans can go are few and far between.
“Having given the best of their lives to serving their country, many traumatised ex-military personnel are left to fend for themselves when their active service time is over.
“Rock 2 Recovery were simply brilliant when I needed them. They supported me as I worked through the issues I had and I got back on my own feet. That’s why I felt the need to give something back to them.”