A FORMER soldier who was diagnosed with PTSD after being injured in Iraq is taking on his first Iron Man challenge to show there is “light at the end of the tunnel”.

Mark Eccleston, from Windle, had been in the army from 1996 to 2002, but was acting as a reservist when he was injured on New Year’s Day 2006.

He had been distributing food to villagers in Iraq when he was caught by the force of a blast. Injuries led to the dad-of-three needing two back operations.

He was also diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after he tried to take his own life in 2008.

He is taking on the Bolton Iron Man challenge on July 15 as part of his recovery.

He will also be raising funds for Style for Soldiers, a service that makes clothes for injured servicemen and women.

The 39-year-old said: “I decided to take this on to prove that after being diagnosed with PTSD you can get better.

“This pushes me physically because of my back injury and also mentally because I still have treatment from Veterans in Mind.

“But I am in a better place now and you can love your life, which is something I try to teach others with PTSD. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. When I was sectioned in Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey Emma Willis from Style for Soldiers helped me and many others, so I wanted to give back to her for all she has done and continues to do.”

Mark is being trained by Terry Bates from St Helens Tri and personal trainer Mark Hunt.