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Friends of Fitness Sponsors Invictus Games Hero

Friends of Fitness Sponsors Invictus Games Hero

Friends of Fitness is a charity associated with our gyms, which each year offers a helping hand to a number of deserving people, enabling them to overcome problems and barriers such as age, mental or physical health issues, disability or economic hardship, to achieve their fitness goals and transform their lives.

In a year when other charities have drawn public attention to the plight of those that have suffered trauma and injury while serving in the British Armed Forces, Friends of Fitness has been extremely pleased to offer support and sponsorship to 53 year old war veteran, Paul Guest.

After joining the Royal Navy at just 16, Paul saw many years of active service in numerous conflicts around the world. In 1999, having suffered a serious spinal injury that left him with paraplegia and visual and hearing impairments, he was discharged from the Navy and returned to civilian life. After years struggling with depression, Paul took up the competitive sport of wheelchair basketball, at which he excelled, playing at club level both at home and abroad and achieving his Level 2 British Coaching qualification.

Impressed by his determination and sporting prowess, Friends of Fitness is sponsoring Paul with membership and personal training at the Fitness4Less Colchester gym. Starting at the gym in March this year, Paul reached a level of fitness that enabled him to apply to take part in the Invictus Games. This is an international Paralympic-style sporting event for injured military personnel, founded by Prince Harry. This year it will be held in Toronto from 23rd to 30th September 2017. These games help to harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those that serve their country.

From over 700 applicants and after a rigorous selection process, Paul was eventually chosen to be one of the final team of 90 athletes of all disciplines, who will compete in the games. There are 11 sports represented at the games and Paul has been selected to take part in the wheelchair basketball event. He was proud and delighted to attend the launch day for the third Invictus Games, which was hosted by Prince Harry at the Tower of London on 30th May.

Paul is now stepping up his training at Fitness4Less Colchester with support and guidance from Personal Trainer, Ben Rowes, as well joining the wheelchair basketball squad at the Invictus training camps at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury. He says, “Being part of this has and will give me my self-respect back. It’s given me hope and shown me a way forward. It will help my family cope too and given my children a reason to be proud of their father again.”

Is there someone you know who would benefit from sponsored gym membership, paid for by Friends of Fitness? If so, look out for the poster about this charity in the gym and fill in one of the forms held at the Reception Desk, giving the reasons why you think this person deserves to be selected for one of the sponsorships on offer.

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