In September, I undertook the Dragon’s Back Race. This is the world’s toughest mountain race. The 230-mile race took me from Conwy Castle in the North of Wales to the iconic Cardiff Castle. The race was equivalent to running 1.5 marathons a day for six days. It was the most strenuous physical challenge that I faced since sustaining injuries in the Army which left my foot paralysed at just 17 years.
Before and during the race, I received many kind messages of support and incredible generosity from those who have donated to my chosen charities. I want to use this opportunity to thank everyone that cheered me on; I appreciate it. Your support encouraged me to persevere and complete the challenge.
I was proud to make it to the finish line – only a quarter of over 400 entrants did so. I have proven to myself not only how far I have come in my own journey but – as a community – we have raised vital funds for two fantastic charities that do so much to help others: the Wolves Foundation and Elysium Memorial Foundation.
The Elysium Memorial Foundation is raising funds to establish a permanent memorial to remember those who lost their lives to suicide after serving in the Armed Forces. This includes some of my closest friends who I had the honour to serve alongside in my career. The Wolves Foundation is a well-known, local charity that does incredible outreach work with the most vulnerable in our community, inspires them to become more active, and learn important lifelong skills that lead to healthier, more active lives.
Serving our country in both the Armed Forces and now in Parliament are the greatest honours to have been bestowed upon me. I want to do all that I can repay the trust which has been invested in me. I have set out a five-point plan to create a safer, cleaner, and healthier Wolverhampton which protects our environment and promotes economic opportunities that build a brighter future for our young people.
Health and wellbeing are integral to my plan for our community. I am working hard to secure better investment for local services that further improve the quality of services and patient outcomes. I am pleased that, as part of our Long-Term Plan for the NHS, investment in primary and community care is set to receive at least £4.5 billion more a year by 2023/24. This is one of the largest uplifts in the £33.9 billion increase to NHS England’s budget by 2023/24. Our new funding will deliver 50 million extra general practice appointments a year and help people to access health care closer to their own home.
I am also promoting ways in which we can all take better care of ourselves - by choosing healthy food options, staying more active, and looking after our own mental health. Further information regarding my work on this important subject can be found at www.stuartanderson.org.uk/campaigns/championing-health-and-wellbeing.