A soldier from Todmorden has a hobby with a difference – he competes in the daredevil winter sport of skeleton.
Lance Bombardier Sam Banda, 21, throws himself headfirst down an ice track on a small sled at speeds of up to 75mph.
Sam, of 26 Regiment Royal Artillery, has just taken part in an Army championship in Winterberg, Germany.
He said: “I think it takes a certain sort of person to do skeleton – you have to be a little bit insane.
“I’m an adrenaline junkie, I like getting the heart pumping and there’s not many sports where you can go headfirst, scraping your face off the ice at 70mph.”
Sam first discovered skeleton after spotting a flyer for winter sports in Gütersloh, Germany where he is based.
Skeleton appealed to his daredevil side more than the better-known sports of bobsleigh and luge.
Sam said: “I Googled each one and skeleton looked the stupidest, so I decided to do that.
“It’s definitely a sport that takes you out of your comfort zone.”
Sam competed in Exercise Racing Ice 2 - the annual Army Novice, Junior and Senior Ice Sport Championship.
He is now trying to get funding so he can buy his own kit and do pre-season training. Sam wants to get his run time below 59 seconds to catch the eye of the Team GB coach.
He said: “The only way to get noticed is to win and to drop people’s jaws. It’s a shock and awe kind of thing.”
The British Army do sport and adventure training to push soldiers out of their comfort zones, so they can take this experience back into their day-to-day work and operations.
Sam added: “One of the big things in skeleton is your reaction is under pressure and in the Army this can save your life.
“If you come out of a corner and think “I’m going to crash here,” then you have a split-second to do something about it. It can help mentally prepare you for military life.”