Ex-Doncaster soldier’s epic charity challenges to help wounded veterans

L to r Paul Bistow, Matthew Lambley and Mark Brierley at Mount Snowdon.

L to r Paul Bistow, Matthew Lambley and Mark Brierley at Mount Snowdon.

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Most of us use our time off in the summer to relax, sit back and enjoy whatever sunshine we can get.

But not Doncaster man Paul Bristow.

Paul Bristow at his sky dive challenge.

Paul Bristow at his sky dive challenge.

For the ex-soldier has spent the last couple of weeks taking on a series of epic challenges to raise money for ex-servicemen and women and their families.

The 48-year-old has spent the last few years pushing his body to the limit all in the name of charity after he was inspired by the plight of Doncaster war hero Ben Parkinson MBE, Britain’s most badly injured surviving soldier.

The father-of-one’s latest set of epic challenges has seen him climb a mountain, complete a cycle ride around Europe, finish a sponsored swim, jump out of an airplane and do an abseil - all in the space of a fortnight.

And he’s not finished there - he is due to complete a half-marathon run around Doncaster today (Sunday, August 30). Inspirational veteran Ben is also set to join him for the last stretch of the run.

L to r Matthew Lambley, Paul Bristom and Mark Brierley at Mount Snowdon.

L to r Matthew Lambley, Paul Bristom and Mark Brierley at Mount Snowdon.

Paul, a telecommunications engineering rigger who lives in Hyde Park, said: “It has been difficult, but in a strange way I also enjoy it.

“The pain is temporary but it is nothing compared to what some of our serving and ex-soldiers, like Ben, and their families have gone through. I just want to do what I can raise awareness and to help people who really deserve it.”

He started his latest string of challenges a couple of weeks ago when he travelled to Wales to scale the 1,085m peak of Mount Snowdon. He was joined up the mountain by support driver Mark Brierley, 53, of Armthorpe, and 27-year-old teacher Matthew Lambley, of Bessacarr.

Paul and Matthew then cycled from Wales, via a stop off at Stroke City’s Britannia Stadium, back to Doncaster. But there was no rest as they headed down to Dover for a ferry ride into France, where they cycled to visit war graves in Ypres, Belgium. They also rode back, completing several hundred miles on the road.

Pictures of Doncaster Charity Fundraiser Paul Bristow, who is raising Money 'for Ben Parkinson's Charity 'Pilgrim Bandits''Among Pauls Fundraising activities to take place, are; Climbing Ben Nevis, & Cycling the 400 miles back, A  500 foot Abseil,  Swim 1 mile,  a Half marathon  & Wing Walking. Paul is pictured with Ben Parkinson.

Pictures of Doncaster Charity Fundraiser Paul Bristow, who is raising Money 'for Ben Parkinson's Charity 'Pilgrim Bandits''Among Pauls Fundraising activities to take place, are; Climbing Ben Nevis, & Cycling the 400 miles back, A 500 foot Abseil, Swim 1 mile, a Half marathon & Wing Walking. Paul is pictured with Ben Parkinson.

Paul’s busy schedule continued as a few days later he completed a one mile swim at Adwick Leisure Centre.

Next, he donned a fancy dress costume and travelled to Hibaldstow Airfield in North Lincolnshire to complete a 15, 000ft skydive.

And it’s a good job Paul has a head for heights, as he abseiled more than 400ft down Lift Tower in Northampton.

He is due to finish his challenges today with a half-marathon. Ben will join him for the final stretch from Clock Corner in Doncaster town centre at 2pm to The Stag Inn at Dockin Hill Road. A celebration, including raffle and charity auction, will follow in the pub.

In addition, Samantha Davidson, widow of Thorne sergeant Lee Davidson who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2012, is due to be at the finish line with their three children.

Paul said: “I am so honoured that Ben is due to join me for the final part. I have really enjoyed all of the challenges so far and this is the icing on the cake.”

All proceeds will be split between the Pilgrim Bandits, which supports injured personnel from the military and emergency services, and Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which supports the children of men and women killed while serving in the armed forces. Paul has surpassed his target of £2000 and raised more than £4000 so far.

Paul, who served in The Royal Corps of Signals between 1984-89, has raised an estimated £25, 000 for a range of charities through completing various challenges over the last few years.

To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/Paul-Bristow5/