A Lewisham man has taken part in a gruelling once-in-a-life-time challenge where he battled 15 other contestants to build a 1,000 feet bridge over the Vietnamese Ocean.

Alim Jayda, from Lee, successfully completed Channel 4’s reality show The Bridge: Race to Fortune over the course of 12 days in Vietnam.

The Bridge is a reality contest where daring individuals are split onto two beaches and have 12 days to build the bridge, all with the hopes to bag the winning prize of £200,000.

News Shopper: images: Alim Jaydaimages: Alim Jayda

Whilst testing their physical ability, contestants have to test their mental skills, teamwork ability, and put egos aside to tackle the surreal climate.

Alim, 31, took a break from his career as a sign language interpreter and was flown out to Vietnam on January 1, 2022, where he was greeted with the other contestants for series 2 of the show.

Alim tod the News Shopper: “I was randomly approached on Instagram to take part and I originally thought it was some kind of tropical holiday.

“I thought why not give it a go – I had nothing to lose.

“Soon after the auditions, I was shipped off to Vietnam to take part.

“Throughout the competition, the weather was warm and tropical, but we definitely had to battle with the elements.

“We had to survive on food rations, make our own fires, and even had to poo in a bucket. “It was a huge challenge, especially for someone like me is hard of hearing.”

News Shopper: images: Alim Jaydaimages: Alim Jayda

Alim wanted to complete The Bridge to prove himself – but not just to him, to his family too.

Alim added: “I’m a child of deaf adults – I’ve spent my whole life interpreting and being the voice for other people.

“I've also got some hearing loss myself, so I thought it’s very rare to see deaf people in the spotlight, and I saw this as an opportunity to tell my story.

“Also, I’m a gay man who is half Indian with parents with very traditional values – so I wanted to prove that anyone can do it, regardless of what you are or who you are.

“My parents have been amazing; I think I’ve blown my dad’s mind whilst he’s been watching the series.”

News Shopper:

Alim met some strong characters whilst building the bridge, with some contestants being “feistier” than others.

Alim explained: “I got along with everybody on the show; I would say I’m a natural mediator.

“There were fights, arguments and screaming matches, and there were people that wanted to be leaders and others that preferred to be followers.

“I think North beach, the beach that I was on, had a lot of rubbish to contend with.

“We had people who were willing to take money out of the prize pot, so there was a lot to battle with.

“Ultimately because we knew it was a popularity contest and knew that one person was going to win, you're very much a conscious that you don't want to start rocking the boat and upset people.”

News Shopper: images: Alim Jaydaimages: Alim Jayda

Although being the voice for other people, Alim told the News Shopper that he has always struggled with figuring out what type of person he is.

Alim explained: “Outside of being an interpreter for my mum and dad, I’ve always struggled to decide who I am as a person.

“I love my job and I always say I'm one of the luckiest people in the world, because I have an insight on the fly on the wall of so many people's lives.

“But because I’ve spent my life being other people’s voices, I wanted to find my own voice.

“This competition made me realise that being myself is the best thing I can do, and people may like you, or may not, and that’s ok.

“But actually, I do have a voice and I’m a lot more comfortable than I thought, even with going to the toilet in a bucket.

“I’m not too comfortable about sharing my bed with bugs, however.”

The Bridge: Race to Fortune is currently showing on Channel 4 every Tuesday and Wednesday, or the full series is now available to watch on All4.

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