A FORMER soldier is hoping to smash a world record and raise £500,000 for charity by spending five days underwater.

Mark Colman, 43, will literally be under pressure as he battles to sleep and even play boardgames submerged in an underwater tank.

The former Royal Engineer will be attempting the challenge in June, and is hoping to spend five days in a specialist tank at the Underwater Studios, in Burnt Mills, Basildon.

He hopes to raise £500,000 for the charity Veterans in Action – a cause he credits with helping him turn his life around after he suffered post traumatic stress disorder.

Mark, a single dad and granddad, who is also a trained commercial diver, will be allowed to take a 20 minute break to eat and drink every four hours, but will need to find a way of sleeping during his time underwater – and using the toilet.

He will wear a specialist suit and breathing gear and will be watched all the time as he attempts to break the current underwater dive world record of 100 hours Mark, of Pendine Close, Corringham admitted: “This is not going to be easy.

“It is a big endurance test, but I want to raise as much money and awareness for Veterans in Action as possible.

“The charity has been amazing to me. It has boosted my confidence and made me realise I didn’t need to suffer in silence.”

Mark left the Army in 1994 after suffering severe mood swings and aggression as a result of serving in the Gulf War.

He later went to work as an underwater diver, but then in 2002 tragedy struck again. While Mark was diving in Canary Wharf on a bridge construction project his close friend and colleague, Gary Miller, 36, from Hornchurch, died in his arms following an accident.

Mark said: “I was devastated.

“I couldn’t dive for ages after that. I owe it to Gary to do something like this. “ Mark is training in the gym and swimming a mile every other day to prepare for the challenge.

He added: “I’ve asked friends to come up with ideas for things for me to do in the tank to pass the time. I’m allowed to have other people in there with me sometimes, as long as I stay down.

“We’ve already planned to play Monopoly with a special board.

“We really need a big sponsor to help us, so any support from companies out there would be much appreciated.”

Mark is also planning an ambitious fundraising event on dry land. In 2014 he plans to walk nearly 3,500 miles across Australia from Perth to Brisbane.

To sponsor Mark for the dive visit www.worldrecorddive2012. wordpress.com