DT staff take on the #22PushUpChallenge for Combat Stress servicemen

Derbyshire Times' staff are flexing their muscles to encourage as many people as possible from across the region to join them in the #22PushUpChallenge to honour traumatised soldiers.

Thursday, 18th August 2016, 4:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:48 pm
Push up challenge by Derbyshire Times staff Liam Norcliffe, Jon Cooper and Ben McVay.

Intrepid reporters Liam Norcliffe, Ben McVay and Jon Cooper have proudly agreed to complete 22 push ups every day for 22 days as part of the £1million fundraising challenge to support the charity Combat Stress.

The terrific trio launched their fundraiser in the shadow of Chesterfield’s Crooked Spire Church, on St Mary’s Gate, in honour of soldiers from the region’s Mercian Regiment and they are nominating others in the county and country to do the same.

Their endeavour has been videod and spread far and wide to encourage others to pick up the gauntlet for such a great cause.

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Push up challenge by Derbyshire Times staff Liam Norcliffe, Jon Cooper and Ben McVay.

People can get involved by doing 22 push ups – full, half or even air push ups – and donating £5 each to Combat Stress by texting PTSD22 to 70004. They can then share a video of their push ups on social media by using #22PushUpChallenge and then nominate others to do the same.

People can then share and like videos on facebook www.facebook.com/CombatStress/ to boost the fundraising drive.

Taking part in the #22PushUpChallenge is a great way to raise awareness and to support veterans with mental health issues and post-traumatic-stress-disorder while at the same time making a donation to a worthy charity.

Participants are urged to do their own push up videos of themselves individually or in groups, in any fun format and in any unusual or normal locations. They can then nominate others in their online videos to do the same and post their efforts via social media.

Push up challenge by Derbyshire Times staff Liam Norcliffe, Jon Cooper and Ben McVay.

Combat Stress which currently helps almost 6,000 UK veterans suffering overcome debilitating mental health issues to get their lives back.

It is the leading veterans’ mental health charity in the UK providing treatment for ex-service personnel suffering with mental ill-health including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Last year, the charity saw a six per cent increase in referrals, and a 28per cent increase the year before that. With a growing demand for its specialist clinical treatment, Combat Stress urgently needs to raise more money to ensure every veteran seeking help receives the best support possible.

The #22PushUpChallenge sets a benchmark of 22 press-ups a day over 22 days to reflect a shocking statistic that tragically 22 veterans a day commit suicide.

Former RAF serviceman John Cox.

A Combat Stress spokesman said: “Taking part in the #22PushUpChallenge is a great way to raise awareness of veterans’ mental health and PTSD and to make a donation to charity.

“Increasing numbers of veterans are coming to Combat Stress every year for help with mental health problems. Donations will help us deliver services and support for these veterans.”

The #22PushUpChallenge originated in the United States to raise awareness of veterans’ mental health. Since the start of 2016, the challenge has been gathering a large following with people doing push ups and donating to veteran mental health charities.


Push up challenge by Derbyshire Times staff Liam Norcliffe, Jon Cooper and Ben McVay.

Ex-senior aircraftsman John Cox, 66, of Clowne, understands better than many the horrors faced by the British forces.

Mr Cox, served in The Gulf in the 1970s and provided cover for the SAS, Irish and Staffordshire Rangers when they came under attack from insurgents from The Yemen.

Exposed to the horrors of war, he witnessed the deaths of two close friends one Christmas Day and has struggled to rationalise how he managed to survive when they lost their lives.

Thanks to the national Combat Stress charity he developed ways to survive subsequent nightmares and traumas.

Mr Cox said: “The work they do is tremendous. Combat Stress has done me proud and I have since been able to develop my own coping strategies with the guidance they provided.

“However, it is sad that a charity has to pick up the pieces when the Government should be doing more.”

Push up challenge by Derbyshire Times staff Liam Norcliffe, Jon Cooper and Ben McVay.

The former RAF serviceman was left suffering with depression, partial deafness, black-outs and Menieres disease which causes nausea, vertigo and balance problems.

But Combat Stress has helped him with the right medication advice and taught him how to control mood swings.

He has also done volunteer work for the organisation as well as for charities including the Hospital League of Friends and the Derbyshire Coalition for Inclusive Living.

Combat Stress was formed in 1919 and helps those suffering from combat-related psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress and has provided tens of thousand of veterans of all ages with a lifeline.

There are thousands of former soldiers currently receiving care but sadly the society is always acquiring new clients.

Mr Cox is also determined that conflicts should never be forgotten because for many servicemen and their families their personal battles continue every day.


General Sir Peter Wall, former Chief of the British Army and President of Combat Stress, is also calling on the public to take part in the #22PushUpChallenge and help raise £1m for the veteran’s mental health charity.

Since Combat Stress started supporting the challenge in July, more than £80,000 has been donated to the organisation.

Sir Peter is well on the way to doing 22 push ups every day for 22 days. You can view his video here: http://bit.ly/CSpw22.

Sir Peter said: “The support from the public has been strong and will make a real difference to our work. We know that far too many veterans suffer in silence with their mental health conditions, and this #22PushUpChallenge will help us to reach out to them by raising awareness of PTSD and the treatment available.

“With more public donations Combat Stress will be able to deliver a vital service to many more veterans across the UK. We have to do this to prevent unnecessary suffering.

“It’s a great opportunity to get behind the military community and show your support.”

Anyone interested in contacting or supporting Combat Stress can visit the website www.combatstress.org.uk or call (01372) 841619.

Any veteran, serving member of the Armed Forces, reservist or family member can contact the Combat Stress 24-Hour Helpline on 0800 138 1619 or visit www.combatstress.org.uk for details.

For those wishing to donate monthly, text COMBAT4 £3 (or another amount) to 70004. Text costs £3 / £5 plus network charge. Combat Stress receives 100per cent of the donation.

Former RAF serviceman John Cox.