Captain Craig completes arduous NHS challenge

Melrose rugby star Craig Jackson is shortly to sign off on his charity venture to publicise the role of NHS workers at the sharp end of the crusade against the COVID-19 virus.

Craig Jackson in his days with Melrose Rugby
Craig Jackson in his days with Melrose Rugby

The former London Scottish and Greenyards centre, now captain of the semi-pro Borders-wide Super 6 squad, Southern Knights, completed a 12-hour physical challenge recently to garner further support for the medical professionals, who were venturing into the unknown in many cases when trying to treat those affected by the pandemic.

With the fund about to wind up soon, Craig has collected over £8400 for Mind, the mental health charity, and other NHS charities, reports Ralph Mellon.

He was delighted with the backing he received, as he had an original target figure of only £1000-£2000 or so in mind at the start.

The challenge, which Craig (28) tackled in his back garden, comprised a 3km row, 4km run and a 5km cycle, which he completed every hour, on the hour, for the equivalent of a 12-hour shift.

“It went pretty well,” he said. “I managed to get through it but it was pretty hard going.”

Craig said it was more punishing than anticipated – although not necessarily physically so.

“It was more psychologically draining,” he said. “I was thinking ‘I have got to go through that again, and again’.

“On rep 10, I knew I was on the homeward stage but it was a slog. The running was the hardest part.”

However, Craig had earlier received a very uplifting and positive message from a friend who worked in England with some of the worst-affected COVID-19 patients.

She reminded him of the effects on NHS staff and the patients’ families and closes friends which, he said, spurred him on.