Veterans in Portsmouth undertake 24-hour spinning challenge for the NHS

A TEAM of veterans in Portsmouth have completed a 24-hour spinning session challenge to raise thousands of pounds for NHS charities.

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 12:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 6:54 pm

The six veterans, serving with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers based in Peronne Road, Hilsea, have each completed a 45-minute spinning session every hour from Saturday morning to Sunday morning – with just 15 minutes every hour as a break.

Thanks to the exhausting effort, the group have doubled the amount they hoped to raise for NHS charities - with more than £2,000 raised in less than two weeks.

Matthew Heath, a senior staff instructor who took part in the challenge, said: ‘In these circumstance it was all about giving something back.

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Matthew Heath and army veterans across Portsmouth have taken part in a 24-hour spinning challenge to raise money for the NHS

‘We are all isolating. We had the brainwave to something four weeks ago.

‘We’re all really competitive so I knew we would do it.’

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The group kept each other going through a Zoom conference call and an app called MyZone, which allows users to monitor and share their heart rate.

Matthew, who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, said: ‘It’s good for tailoring sessions and you can see the intensity of everyone you have linked to the app.

‘The hardest part was between 3am and 4am, the grave yard shift.

‘But it was important to keep in mind why we were doing it, and that helped get me through.

‘The NHS is doing an absolutely fantastic job. They are facing an invisible enemy.’

The veteran’s mother in law works as a secretary for the NHS in University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, and she has told her family how all staff are ‘under massive strain at the moment’, according to Matthew.

Matthew’s wife, Jemma, said she hoped people continue to donate.

She said: ‘I’m very proud of Matthew for completing the challenge – I got up at 4am to check on him and he was still going strong. It’s a fantastic achievement.’

She added: ‘But I wasn’t tempted to join in.’

Donations will go to NHS Charities Together, which gives £1m every day to the 250 NHS charities supporting hospitals across the UK.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at

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