A PERSONAL trainer has put himself through his paces as part of an excruciating challenge to raise money for charity and awareness of mental health.

Gabriel Beckett, 31, runs the Colchester Bootcamp, at which he pushes other people to their limits for the benefit of both their physical and mental wellbeing.

But, throughout the month of September, Mr Beckett decided to instead set himself four different blood-pumping tests in a bid to raise £1,000 for the Samaritans.

Each week, he upped the ante, first starting with 100,000 steps in one day, and then doing more than 1,300 chest-to-floor burpees around Abbey Field while wearing a 10kg vest.

Somewhat crazily, the following week, he swam from Dedham to Flatford, and back again, before running a gruelling marathon, again while wearing a 10kg weighted vest.

His hellish few weeks of pain and blisters, from which Mr Beckett has now recovered, generated more than £2,000.

“I want to say thank you to everyone that supported me this with my weekly physical and mental challenges,” he said.

“All your donations are helping saves lives and from the bottom of my heart I can’t thank you enough for the support.”

Mr Beckett’s fitness stunts also acted as platforms from which he could highlight how anyone could overcome the darkest of days.

Just a few years ago he, too, was unable to fathom an escape from his fragile mental state.

He added: “My mission is to raise awareness for mental health because I was in a really bad place and lost all hope in my life.

“I’m very fortunate to have been able to turn my life around and to support others in times of need.

“What got me through these crazy challenges was knowing no matter how tough it got, the pain is nothing compared to suffering with depression.

“I believe I’m living proof no matter how tough life gets, it does get better.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t forget you’re not alone.”

To donate now you can visit justgiving.com/fundraising/gabriel-beckett1.