South Shields soldier completes toughest challenge

Staff Sergeant Dave Cook takes part in a 24-hour row for the Royal Artillery Charity.
Staff Sergeant Dave Cook takes part in a 24-hour row for the Royal Artillery Charity.

A soldier battled through one of his toughest challenges to date in a bid to raise cash for an armed forces charity.

Staff Sergeant Dave Cook says he pushed himself to the limit as he completed a 24-hour rowing machine marathon in aid of the Royal Artillery Charity Fund.

Staff Sergeant Dave Cook takes part in a 24-hour row for the Royal Artillery Charity.

Staff Sergeant Dave Cook takes part in a 24-hour row for the Royal Artillery Charity.

The 52-year-old started his mission on Friday at the Territorial Army’s 205 Battery in Northfield Gardens, South Shields, ending it at 4pm on Saturday.

Despite taking part in a number of endurance-testing events in the past, he 
says this feat was the hardest yet.

The territorial army soldier, who works as a social worker in Sunderland, said: “I didn’t realise just hard it was going to be. It has definitely been my toughest challenge to date both mentally and physically.

“I’ve done quite a lot in the past, a 22-mile swim, 24-hour static bike ride, last year I did 101 exercises in 24 hours, but this was something else.

This has definitely been my toughest challenge to date both mentally and physically.

Staff Sergeant Dave Cook

“I did some rowing in the 101 exercise challenge but this really took it out of me. I can’t see me doing this again.”

The Royal Artillery Charity fund supports serving and retired members of the unit and their families, whether it is through hard times or in need of mobility equipment.

Sgt Cook, who has served with 101 regiment for the past 32-years as a reservist soldier, said: “I got a lot of support from the lads at the unit and some of them stayed with me throughout the night, getting me drinks and bars of chocolate.

“They really helped to keep me going and I can’t thank them enough.”

The 205 territorial battery is part of 101 regiment.

Its soldiers have taken part in both world wars and more recently its reservists have served in Afghanistan and both Gulf wars in Iraq alongside full-time service personnel.

People can still make a donation to Staff Sgt Cook’s Just Giving page by visiting www.justgiving.com/david-cook31