Former Whitley Bay soldier is getting on his bike for charity

A former Special Forces soldier is getting on his bike to raise £100,000 for charity – and set a world record in the process.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 11:12 am
Craig Haslam is hoping to raise £100,000 for charity by cycling the shoreline of the UK in a 17-day challenge.

Craig Haslam, from Whitley Bay, is aiming to cycle the shoreline of the UK.

The 45-year-old father-of-two teenagers will cover the equivalent of almost 250 miles a day – burning up 10,000 calories for every one of the 17-day challenge.

Craig was medically discharged after a 27-year military career in 2015 when he sustained life-changing injuries after being knocked off his bike by a car.

He was treated by the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) and wants 50 per cent of the £100,000 to be used to provide mini-buses to ferry recovering military personnel to and from the centre in Loughborough.

And the former surfer and stand-up paddle boarder will donate the other 50 per cent to Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).

Craig expects to be cycling 15 hours a day for the duration of the 4,219-mile trek round the mainland, using A and B roads. He will start at the beginning of June from the Tyne Bridge.

Craig said: “It will be a case of eat, sleep, ride, and repeat. I’ll be using up 10,000 calories a day; it’s impossible to eat enough to replace that.”

There is no official world record as the previous best was eradicated, but Craig hopes GPS tracking will legitimise his achievement.

The cycling accident left Craig with complicated brain injuries, including vertigo, nausea, poor memory, a lack of concentration, one-dimensional vision and round-the-clock headaches.

He also sustained additional injuries to his arms, shoulders and knees.

Craig said: “I joined the forces on leaving school at 17 and said at the time I would stay in as long as I was happy and enjoyed it.

“After 16 years in the Royal Marines and a further ten in the Special Forces I was still enjoying it, but the accident left me with little choice, and rather than mope about, I started on a new chapter in my life.”

Craig has recently set up a new business, D3A Defence, advising businesses on the best way to win equipment contracts with the Armed Forces.

His support team includes wife Emmajo, a cook and eco consultant.

Craig said: “As someone who has spent a lifetime outdoors, particularly in the water, I am all too aware of the state of our environment.

“It is so important to do what we can to protect our seas from plastic and as a no-nonsense, plain-speaking, grassroots marine conservation charity, SAS is perfectly positioned to do this.

“My family and I have supported this charity for over 15 years.”