Calderdale man's ball and chain challenge

Royal Navy Reserves petty officer Rob Kendrick
Royal Navy Reserves petty officer Rob Kendrick

Royal Navy Reservist Rob Kendrick has been chained to a six pound weight for a week to raise awareness of the plight of soliders and veterans battling mental health issues.

The Petty Officer from Booth, who volunteers with HMS Ceres in Leeds, was taking part in the Medicine Ball Challenge - devised by childhood friend and serving soldier, Sergeant Andy Unwin.

The ball represents the burden of stress, anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder that some service personnel and veterans carry around with them.

“It struck a chord with me and I really wanted to help him out,” said Rob. “The armed forces is really close to my heart and something I am really passionate about.”

Rob had the weight cuffed to him for seven days, only removing it for sleeping, driving and dressing.

“You can’t forget about it and if you do, you soon remember when you try to do something or move anywhere,” he said. “Eating is a bit difficult.”

“It does bring it home. It’s been an eye-opener.”

Rob, who has a 17-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter, has been a navy reservist for 19 years. He last mobilised in 2010 when he was part of a force protection team off the coast of Iraq and Iran for six months.

Sgt Unwin, originally from Sowerby Bridge, served with the Yorkshire Regiment for 14 years and now trains military police in Portsmouth.

He came up with the challenge last year in response to the number of soldiers and veterans taking their own lives.

So many people have wanted to take part, there are two medicine balls in circulation and there is someone booked in for each for every week until March.

Sponsorship has reached nearly £7,000 and proceeds will go to military and civilian mental health charities.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/warswithinthem.