AN ex-soldier from Stockbridge has taken to the skies to raise money for two charities that are, almost literally, close to his heart.

Glyn Cassidy, 43, is hiking and flying Wainwright's coast to coast trail from St Bees Head in Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire – a distance of 124 miles (200km).

The 43-year-old will encounter some of the most picturesque, yet harshest, parts of the British countryside on his adventure while hoping to raise £1,000 for the military charity, Help for Heroes, and the British Heart Foundation.

Mr Cassidy hails the two charities as helping to save his life after he was diagnosed with triple vessel disease, a condition in which the heart’s three arteries congest and harden.

Two of his arteries were completely blocked while his remaining artery was severely damaged and had started to split due to the extensive pressure caused by the blockages.

He said: “I thought I had indigestion pains, and then days later I started getting pains in my arms, and was given some spray for angina. I then went for a heart scan and that’s when I was told I had triple vessel disease.”

He was then forced to undergo open heart surgery, a dangerous procedure that can at times be fatal.

He continued: “I went from taking tablets to having lifesaving surgery; I was signed off work and then four weeks later I was in Southampton having the bypass surgery.”

Fortunately, the former Army Air Corp soldier pulled through and he was determined to make the most of his “second chance”.

The veteran continued: “I was in a position where I thought ‘game over’. I wasn’t in a good place, but then I came to a Help for Heroes course at Tedworth House which I thought was brilliant, and everything started to look up.”

Mr Cassidy also took part in Heritage Heroes’ efforts to restore a canal, and after a further scan on his heart, he was given the all clear to continue one of his passions, flying.

At the time of going to press, Mr Cassidy is completing the final third of his coast to coast adventure and says that he would not be here now if it wasn't for the support of Help for Heroes.

He said: “The challenge is my way of saying thank-you.”

If you would like to sponsor Mr Cassidy, visit or