A BLIND student strongman has launched a fundraising appeal for a new gym at a Herefordshire college.

Strongman competitor Chris Colbert, a student with The Royal National College for the Blind has been using lockdown to keep up his impressive weight training programme at home.

Chris, who was registered blind at an early age, is determined to be ready for several strong man competitions, at least one of which has been delayed by the pandemic.

The national competition, Britain’s Disabled Strongman, should have taken place in May 2020 and is awaiting rescheduling while Chris’s local competition, England’s Most Powerful Man 2020, is hoped to go ahead on October 3.

All of RNC’s residential students returned home in March 2020 with remote support during lockdown, and 19-year-old Chris from Doncaster has used his time wisely to train in his garden using specialist weights. His current personal best is an impressive 240kg and he has been receiving one-to-one training from nationally acclaimed strongman Andrew Lumley as well as his gym, Viking Power & Strength, in Doncaster.

Chris will use his ongoing training efforts, including some interim goals and challenges, to raise funds for the vital upgrade of the RNC’s on-site student gym which is specially adapted for use by visually impaired students at the college for their general fitness as well as those studying for sports and personal trainer qualifications.

"The student gym is a vital part of the facilities here at RNC, both for teaching and general fitness for the students," said Aaron Rees, teacher in charge of sports and recreation.

"But it requires specialist kit due to the needs of the student community and those training to become sports or personal trainers need access to the latest equipment that they’ll be working with, once they qualify and leave RNC for new jobs."

Chris said: "I am 100 percent committed, determined and raring to go so please donate to my appeal and this will make me work even harder."

To help raise funds for RNC’s new student gym, head to Chris’ JustGiving page here.