A gym owner and personal trainer has set himself and his team a mammoth challenge of walking 36 miles while each carrying up to 30kgs.

Luke Read, founder of fitness company Airborne Fit in Ipswich, is no stranger to big challenges.

The former paratrooper who served in Afghanistan, regularly completes gruelling tasks such as the marathon des sables – a 156-mile, six-day challenge in the desert – and extreme mountain climbing expeditions.

Luke and his business partner Michael Jennings, along with 36 members of his gym, will take on the 36-mile challenge to highlight the world's mental health crisis, with a particular focus on men.

Mr Read said: "The reason behind this challenge is for us to attempt to 'feel the load' that men do every day."

The team of men will head out for the walk on Remembrance Sunday, a date chosen specially, leaving from Airborne Fit, through to Rendlesham, then into Woodbridge for the service in the square at 11am.

Mr Read continued: "Carrying the weight on the walk is tough and we wanted to make it really visual, we wanted to make a statement.

"Sixty men die every hour from suicide across the world and that's why we want to carry weight, so we can feel their struggles.

"I understand the challenges of mental health quite well, particularly PTSD because of my time in the Armed Forces."

Luke has said that the challenge has already led members of his team to open up about their problems.

One member taking part, Trevor Dixon, 48, faced mental health challenges after the breakdown of his marriage and problems at work.

He said: "This is certainly going to be a tough challenge, but I am really pleased to be taking part.

Ipswich Star: Luke ReadLuke Read (Image: Airborne Fit)

"I think Luke is an amazing guy, really inspirational. He blows my mind and I'm grateful to have been able to share with him some of my own difficulties."

Paul Wallington, 42, another taking part, said: "I feel passionate about raising awareness around mental health and I'm proud to be part of this."

Since starting Airborne Fit, Luke and the gym has raised over £50,000.

To donate to Luke and his team on this challenge, click here.