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Former soldier Tom and friends set to cycle the Three peaks Challenge

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 02, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

Cycle challengers, from the left, Damien Austin and Tom Rhead.

Cycle challengers, from the left, Damien Austin and Tom Rhead.

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A FORMER soldier will be embarking on an energetic challenge in a bid to raise cash for Help For Heroes.

Twenty-seven-year-old Tom Rhead, who lives in Leek, is to be joined by two friends in his challenge to cycle the infamous fund-raising challenge of The Three Peaks.

Father-of-one Tom is being joined by fellow Sapphire Energy Recovery Ltd employee Damien Austin, and their pal Pete Johnston, for the 470 mile-cycle challenge.

The lads will be cycling to Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike and Snowdon, and climbing each of the summits too – all in the space of four days in August.

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Tom, Damien and Pete will be carrying out their Three Peaks Cycle Challenge in five stages over four days with the help of a support team.

Tom said: "We want to complete this in four days and so we are only allowing ourselves four six hour breaks over the challenge.

"We are determined to do it."

Tom, who joined the Army at the age of 18 after leaving Leek High School, left the force at the age of 24 due to starting a family with his fiance Karley Morris.

He said: "Our daughter is five years old now. I left the army when she was two-years-old. I did serve twice in Iraq and see a fair few incidents. Help For Heroes is certainly a worthwhile cause."

As for coming out of the Army and returning permanently to civilian life, Tom said: "It was difficult to begin with but I soon settled back in.

"It was tough to get a job; it took me three months."

So far, the trio has raised more than £850 for Help For Heroes in events including a music night at The Priory pub in Leek, and a Pie and Pea Supper night. Damien said: "I haven't done anything like the three peaks before.

"But we have been talking about doing some fund-raising for a while now.

"We thought about the Three Peaks Challenge as it is done normally, but then decided to make it even more challenging by cycling to each peak before climbing them."

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