A former student at a North Shields secondary school is performing 10,000 pull-ups to raise money for charity.

Sam Craggs graduated last year from St Thomas More Catholic High School, a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, and is undertaking the feat to raise funds for the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation.

He has chosen the figure for a poignant reason: “I made the choice to do 10,000 pull-ups to represent the 10,000 UK lives lost to war post World War II,” he explained.

In my mind, each pull-up is for the person who chose to go head-on into war to protect all of us from the war reaching where we are sitting right now.

The 18-year-old from Wallsend also posts video updates of his progress on his Instagram account craggsyy, with each featuring a soldier who died in action.

Every video I post each day, I attach the story of a soldier and how they passed on. It gives me the opportunity to publicise the stories of these people who, although they sacrificed the most, are rewarded the least.” he said.

Sam joined the Wallsend Air Cadets in 2019, and is currently completing its Junior Leaders Course, with a view to becoming a member of the Armed Response/Counter-Terrorism Force.

John Thornton was a former student on the course and achieved the Top Student award, the best of the best,” he continued. “After this, he went on to join the Royal Marines as an officer, where, after four years, he was killed at the age of 22.

His parents set up the charity to support those who want to ‘climb as high as they can dream’, and, out of respect and remembrance of John every student of the Junior Leaders Course since his death raises money for the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation.

Sam fittingly chose to start his fundraising challenge on Remembrance Day, and has since been averaging 100 pull ups a day, either at BHP Gym, at home, or even, on Christmas Day, in his grandmother’s garage. He hopes to finish in March, and has already raised over £800 through his JustGiving page.

Despite all the problems happening in the world and our country today, people are still willing to donate and support those less fortunate,” he added.

When I went back to St Thomas More a few months ago to get my A Level certificates, I had the opportunity to speak to many of my previous teachers, and many of them have generously donated to the charity as well.

Staff from St Columba’s, the primary school I attended and another member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, have also donated.The money that is being raised goes directly to the charity the moment it is donated, and goes to the 20 youth organisations that they support.”

Donations can be made via: https://www.justgiving.com/page/10000pull-ups10000soldiers.