The partner of YouTuber Emily Hartridge, who died in an electric scooter crash in London, has signed up to appear on SAS: Who Dares Wins.
ersonal trainer Jacob Hazell, 28, said he decided to take part in the gruelling Channel 4 series to “make peace with the whole situation”.
Ms Hartridge, 35, was involved in a fatal collision with a lorry in Battersea, south London, in July 2019, while riding a scooter gifted to her by Hazell days earlier.
In the aftermath, Hazell became the target of online trolls and has since used his social media platform to advocate for better mental health support.
He said: “My experience on SAS: Who Dares Wins was one of the toughest I have ever endured. I am sure most people would say it would be without doubt the toughest. However after losing my girlfriend Emily in 2019, SAS: Who Dares Wins takes second spot.
“It’s fair to say that I was not expecting it to be as challenging as it was for me. It brought up things in me that I have had buried deep down for a very long time. And I am so grateful for the show and the opportunity as since leaving the course, it has helped me face up to and deal with some of those issues, rather than bury them down inside me.
“It helped me make peace with the whole situation. To the fellow recruits, DS, and all of you that work on the show, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
Hazell said he signed up because he felt “very lost in life”.
He added: “After losing Emily back in 2019, I fear sometimes that I have given up in life without her. I needed to prove to myself that I hadn’t.
“I screamed down that cliff during the abseil task, but the fact I walked off that edge proved that I still had some fight left in me.”
Series six will see 21 men and women leave the comfort of their homes and head to Scotland for an unforgiving selection course including tasks built around abseiling, freezing water and chemical weapon attacks.
Among their ranks are a solicitor raised in a Mormon community and a former stripper now working as an aesthetician.
Former soldier Melvyn Downes, 56, has joined Foxy and Billy on the directing staff for this series, led by chief instructor Ant Middleton, who recently severed ties with the show.
Downes, who spent 24 years serving in the British Military, including 11 years in the SAS, is the first mixed race DS to feature.
He said: “I’m incredibly proud to join such an amazing series and it’s an honour to be the first mixed race DS on the series.
“I’m also incredibly thankful for this opportunity, especially at this time in my life. Age is no excuse not to go for your goals, and I’m living proof of that.”
Despite his years of experience, he admitted being wary of the cameras.
He said: “It was an exciting experience but also terrifying as I’ve spent most of my life undercover.
“Once I got over the initial shock of all the cameras, I loved being back in that environment with the fellow DSs, putting the recruits through their paces.”
Earlier this year, Channel 4 severed ties with Middleton over his “personal conduct” and said it would not be featuring him in future series.
But Middleton said it was his decision to quit the programme because it had become a “reality show”.
SAS: Who Dares Wins airs on Sundays at 9pm on Channel 4 from May 9.