WHEN Adam Bentley’s career as a Royal Marine was ended by a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan, he saved himself by opening a gym in Devizes.

That venture was so successful he has launched a second one in Chippenham.

The 28-year-old has teamed up with business partner James Bassett-Smith, 28, to open SW1 CrossFit and they are banking on its unique sense of community to make it as success.

Mr Bentley, who lives in Devizes, spent seven years in the Marines but on his first tour of Afghanistan an armoured troop carrier he was travelling in triggered an Improvised Explosive Device. Everyone aboard survived but his hearing was permanently damaged.

“It was terrifying, we were just travelling along and the next thing we were thrown everywhere. The design of the vehicle saved us,” he said.

“In the months afterwards, my hearing was bad, but I thought it would get better. It didn’t and I was medically discharged.”

His mum Mary is a self-employed fitness instructor and they opened CrossFit Devizes together on the Hopton Industrial Estate.

He said:“I was lucky that I had that to focus on when I was discharged, I don’t know what else I would have done.”

Its success persuaded him to open another gym and he teamed up with Mr Bassett-Smith, who had been working for him as an instructor.

It opened in a former tyre warehouse on the Bath Road Industrial Estate at the end of January and already has 60 members signed up.

Mr Bassett-Smith, who lives in Chippenham, said:“We had no idea how it would go in Chippenham, but we did our research and it seemed like a no-brainer.

“We are ahead of where we wanted to be at the end of the first month though, so we are really pleased.”

He has worked for Wiltshire Council in sports centre management as well as training in Cyprus and Bali.

They invested a five-figure sum in equipping the gym to a high standard after spending six gruelling weeks cleaning and stripping out the warehouse. Now it has a huge training area, showers, toilets, a separate warm-up area and a café.

Mr Bentley said: “It’s amazing to see the way people make friends because they are all improving together.

“We’ve seen the difference in people in a month – in the way they have got more confident but also making friends.

Each class is restricted to just 14 people.