A FORMER soldier showed plenty of battling spirit as he endured the blistering Sahara heat to complete the draining Marathon Des Sables.

Anthony Palin, an Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran from Rainford, completed the daring challenge in aid of the Scotty's Little Soldiers charity, which helps young children who have lost a parent who was in service.

The formidable run takes place in the Sahara Desert and sees participants complete the 156-mile route in the searing heat, carrying all equipment and food on their backs and sleeping in tents.

"I have done arduous work and training before during my time in the army and so I knew I had the mental capacity but it was up there as one of the hardest physical events I've done," admitted Anthony, 30.

"It was extremely tough. I'd not trained near enough for the conditions out there, rolling sand dunes, ankle deep sand, mountains and temperatures peaking 48 degrees Celsius on the double marathon day."

Anthony joined the army aged 16 and served for 11 years initially as a Royal Engineer with 9 Parachute Squadron before passing into The Pathfinders.

He completed several tours of both Iraq and Afghanistan and has since been back to both countries regularly as a civilian security contractor.

"I chose to do it around April 2015, I was just looking to take on a challenge," he added.

"I chose Scotty's Little Soldiers as it is a charity that helps young children who have lost a parent to service with the armed forces.

"I became familiar with the charity's work after a close friend was killed in action in Afghanistan, his daughter was just nine weeks old at the time."

Anthony added: "Finishing the MDS was a great feeling, mainly because I was pretty tired and knew the bar was now in sight. I met some awesome people and it was a great experience but would I do it again? No thanks."

To donate to the cause visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/Anthony-Palin