A former soldier with the Yorkshire regiment is one of the first to take advantage of Duncan Bannatyne’s offer of free health club membership for veterans with PTSD.

Boro fan James Rose, 31, who lives his wife and son in Middlesbrough, was diagnosed with PTSD two years ago.  During a tour of Afghanistan in 2009, he was seriously injured by an IED, losing both legs above the knee, a broken pelvis and blood clots on his lungs.

James suffered significant setbacks in his recovery when he almost drowned rowing with the GB development squad and was run over while hand cycling but remained undaunted and planning his next challenge.

In October 2018, James joined the rest of Team GB in Sydney where he competed in Sitting Volleyball and Wheelchair Basketball, winning Silver and Bronze medals.  Due to the success of the Wheelchair Basketball, James is now a full-time player training twice a week.

In July James will be competing in the Invictus Games trials and in September, he and a fellow Invictus Games athlete will take on their greatest challenge, to climb Mt Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of mental health issues and fundraise for Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion. James hopes to become the first double amputee to climb the peak unaided.

James said: “I love a challenge and what better way to challenge yourself than by conquering the highest free-standing mountain in Africa!

“My service has actually had a really positive impact on my life, even though I was injured. It has made me a stronger person. Although it is hard at times I either had to come to terms with it straight away or give up. I certainly wasn’t going to give up, especially on my wife and son and our friends and family.

“When I look back, I can now see the early signs of PTSD, which was triggered through my military injury.  I had flashbacks, nightmares, anger and irritability but I chose to ignore them.

“The training has helped me a lot with my mental health.  I’m currently using weights, but I will be incorporating more swimming and cardio ahead of the Kilimanjaro climb.

“I can’t thank Duncan enough, not just for the membership but for his support of veterans.   I have a lot of respect for him and I’m sure I speak on behalf of most former soldiers.”

Duncan Bannatyne  gave his backing to the Sunday People’s Save Our Soldiers campaign and offered hundreds of free memberships for veterans with PTSD, with every one of his 72 health clubs taking part.

Duncan, 70, told the Sunday People: “I truly believe our armed forces are the best in the world. I think they do an amazing job and the bravery that comes with doing the job they do is outstanding.

“If I can help in a small way such as giving a free membership to help combat PTSD, then I am more than happy to do that.  It is something that is very dear to me.”

Duncan’s dad William endured three-and-a-half years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in the Second World War and was starving to death before ­liberation in 1945.

William, an infantryman in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, had been captured while fighting Japan’s invasion of Malaya and Singapore in 1942.

Duncan said: “My father was somebody who did not really talk about his time as PoW. However, over the years I did get bits out of him and when I hear what he endured it makes me so proud to have seen how brave he was.”

Duncan’s military background is one of the reasons he feels strongly about the plight of troops with PTSD.

James’ story and fundraising details can be found here https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/road-to-kili?utm_term=R5dB7QaM4