Military reservists will take on a gruelling 100 mile challenge later this month to support former military colleagues who are struggling with civilian life. On 22 July, the team from A Company 6 Rifles will begin a 24 hour relay race of 9 km loops near Cirencester, pushing their mental and physical boundaries to the limit.
“We are all serving reservists and feel passionately about helping our fellow service personnel”, explains team leader Richard. “During my time in the regular army I saw first-hand the emotional impact of PTSD and experienced the sorrow of losing colleagues to suicide. FirstLight Trust gives practical support for veterans struggling with mental illness and other issues. We hope to raise huge sums of money for this hugely important and much-needed charity.”
Team members include Katy, a former finalist in the BBC series Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week. A graduate of the University of the West of England, her day job is working in expedition filmmaking for a Bristol company and she’s a keen marathon runner. Katy’s joined by Shaun and William who has completed the 800km Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage, and cycled from Canterbury to Jerusalem as well as other long-distance charity challenges. Richard, a former Sergeant in the Black Watch, has previously cycled the length of Britain and from Italy to Edinburgh to raise more than £28,000 for service charities.
“We are honoured that these ‘centurions’ are willing to push themselves so hard to help us,” says Dorinda Wolfe Murray of FirstLight Trust. “Every penny they raise will help us break down barriers so veterans and their families get the support they need. Counselling, someone to talk to or just help navigating the red tape of civilian life is needed now more than ever.”
The charity has hubs in Redcar, Gosport and Scarborough and hopes to extend these across the country. They combine charity shops with charity cafes, where veterans are welcome to pop in for a cuppa and a chance to talk. The cafes are named after Sharpe, a fellow Rifleman famously played on TV by the Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean.
“There is a sense of brotherhood when it comes to helping those who are in real need and this is amplified when it comes to military service,” says Richard. “Doing the 100 mile challenge is only time for me and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than to support my former military colleagues."
Donations can be made online HERE