Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette

To combat trauma you need to step outside your comfort zone

Former footballer Ashley Cain and TV personalit­y Calum Best tell RACHAEL DAVIS why they signed up for the new series of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins


AS Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins returns to Channel 4 for a fourth series, 14 courageous celebritie­s head to the Jordanian desert to be tested to their absolute limit with a range of physical and psychologi­cal challenges designed for the Special Air Services screening process.

Among the actors, TV personalit­ies, influencer­s, dancers and sportspeop­le taking part this series are 41-year-old TV star Calum

Best and 31-year-old former footballer Ashley Cain.

They are joined in the desert by Maisie Smith, Jennifer Ellison, Fatima Whitbread, Pete Wicks, Ferne McCann, Amber

Gill, AJ Pritchard, Curtis Pritchard, Dwain Chambers, Jade Jones, Shannon Courtenay and Jonathan Broom-Edwards – once celebrity strangers who, after having endured such intense trials together, are now firm friends for life.

But just what was it like going through the gruelling process, and how has the experience changed their lives? Calum and Ashley open up about their experience­s.

I really wanted to find out who I was Ashley Cain

Why did you want to put yourself through the challenge of SAS: Who Dares Wins?

AC: Losing my daughter (Azaylia, who died of leukaemia at eight months old) was the most difficult experience of my life. I think to combat trauma you need to step outside your comfort zone and see who you really are.

There’s no better way to do that than on SAS Who Dares Wins, so when the opportunit­y came I took it with both hands.

I really wanted to find out who I was, so I wanted to see whether I put my money where my mouth is. I said I was going to be strong for my daughter, and I was going to continue to fight for my daughter. I wanted to put that in action as soon as I possibly could. I knew that it was going to be very tough. But it was so important for me at the time to test myself... to find out what I was capable of and to learn some valuable lessons in there to take into the world.

CB: It’s an opportunit­y, I feel, that you can use life experience­s and see how much they’ve helped you grow, to let you know whether you think you’re at a good place of growth, or if there’s still a lot more growing to be done.

On an entertainm­ent, profession­al level, I love this show, always wanted to do it. And now’s my opportunit­y to show a side to me that might not have been shown in my 20 years of TV.

I was really, really excited about it, but super nervous.

Did you do any training before going in, or ask any advice from people who’d done it before?

AC: Yeah, I was going out running and I was doing all of that stuff because that’s what I used to do as a coping mechanism anyway.

I know people who had done it before, but I didn’t want to cheat. It’s difficult because I don’t really surround myself with a lot of people anymore because they’re not really on my frequency.

But if you know me, you understand how seriously I take everything in life now because I know how easy it can slip away, I know that we can’t take life for granted.

I wanted to go in raw. I wanted to go into the unknown and I wanted to find who I am. I wanted to see if I could make it out the other end.

So it was important for me not to be trying to get little sneaky insights and find out how I could make it easier because I wanted it to be hard.

CB: I think that on a mental level, you can just hope that your experience­s in life will prepare you.

But on a physical [level], everybody wanted to be their physically fittest because before, in lockdown in our hotel, everyone’s in the gym, everyone’s running, everyone’s training. And you can tell everyone was somewhat prepared for what it is.

But when you get in there, the duck walks, the bear crawl, the sand dunes, in the water, out of the water, the monkey bars, everything all put together is another level of fitness that, on a personal level, my body had never been to before. But it’s your mind that gets you through it.

What was the hardest challenge?

CB: The gas chamber is like, everything in your mind, body and soul says ‘Don’t be here. Get out’. The feeling is horrific. And it’s at that moment that the ultimate test happened: Can I beat all these demons and stay in this moment and go through this thing?

AC: Every day you’re nervous, you’re anxious. You’re stressed because you don’t get a rest. Every time you think you’ve got a chance to rest, you’re getting called back out again.

And that’s one thing I don’t think people watching the series understand. People think it’s like every other TV show where you film for a bit, then you get your downtime. There is no downtime.

Can you sum up the experience?

AC: It was a great experience. And you know what? I didn’t want anybody to have sympathy for me because of what happened to my daughter, because that’s our life. And that’s what it was good for, because I went in there and I didn’t get any special treatment, I didn’t get any sympathy. I had to deal with my problems and I had to push through the pain and do what I had to do.

I think it was good for me. It was a very humbling experience. But it was also a very tough and challengin­g experience.

Even after after all you’ve been through, would you recommend it?

CB: Yeah. You couldn’t go wrong doing this. You could go through hell, but I just believe that growth comes from these challenges.

I think it’s the coolest thing around, if you ask me.

■ Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins is on Channel 4, tomorrow at 9pm

 ?? ?? Ashley Cain and Calum Best were both eager to take on a fresh challenge for different reasons
Ashley Cain and Calum Best were both eager to take on a fresh challenge for different reasons
 ?? ?? The contestant­s are put through a gruelling regime
The contestant­s are put through a gruelling regime

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