Shrewsbury fitness trainer helps climber who broke his back target Paralympics - with video

By Nick Humphreys | Shrewsbury | News | Published: | Last Updated:

A personal trainer who has helped build up a climber who broke his back hopes his tale will encourage more people to get active.

Alex Mansell, fitness manager at Bannatyne's in Shrewsbury, has been training Darren Edwards since January 2017 after he became paralysed from the chest down following a devastating climbing accident in north Wales.

Darren, 28, has made a remarkable comeback against the odds which has seen him become a GB kayaker who is aiming for the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.

That's thanks in no small part to Alex, 30, who hopes his story gives more disabled people the push to join a gym and get fit.

Shrewsbury fitness trainer helps climber who broke his back target Paralympics

He said: "Darren rang the gym from the hospital to say he'd broken his back but he wanted to come, could we help him train. We said just come down.

"I gave him an induction and we went from there. The first exercise we did was pull-ups. We've been working together for about two-and-a-half years. "You can see for yourself the improvement he's made from training three times a week. He's aiming for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo."

The pair have become close friends since working together, and went to Shrewsbury Town's League One play-off final clash against Rotherham in 2018.

Alex joked: "I felt like a VIP because he got us great seats! It helps that we're really good mates out of work."


He also encouraged people with disabilities to get in touch if they're interested in training. He added: "I've trained lots of people with different conditions but he was the first in a wheelchair. It's not really any different to training anyone else.

"If anyone wants advice they can call me. We can talk through their situation and what the severity of the condition is, what their goals are and we can cater around that. We can offer nutrition advice. All of the people are helpful and positive. Darren really enjoys it here.

"You feel positive when you come to the gym, I know Darren feels like he's doing something positive and finds it a great help."

To see Alex working with paraplegic and wheelchair using clients, he regularly posts on his Instagram page strenth_to_train . To book with Alex, call Bannatynes on 01743 235523.

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Bridgnorth.


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