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NAVY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 2010


21


Trusty steed’s good deeds


HORSEWOMAN Lt Sharon Brown has been riding since she was a child, so when the opportunity came up to support Help for Heroes with one of her trusty horses, she


jumped at the chance. However, Sharon found herself in intensive care with a rare, life- threatening illness only a few weeks before the ride was to take place. It was touch and go whether


she would be fit enough to participate.


After a nail-biting couple of


weeks for her family and friends, Sharon pulled through, and was able to take part in the event – an organised ride starting from Ascot racecourse, going to the Jubilee Statue in Windsor Great Park, and culminating in a ride around the track and past the famous Ascot finishing post. Sharon said: “I’ve been riding for the Royal Navy in show jumping and eventing for over 15 years and I’m fortunate to have two wonderful horses, Timba and Gromit.” “It was a difficult choice which


of my trusty steeds to choose, but I decided to ride Timba. “The event kicked off at 7.30am with a group of riders from the racecourse including Chief Executive Charles Barnett and Lt Guy Disney who lost a leg in Helmand.


“I proudly rode in number one The whirring Forties His war’s been over for “But I thought that riding in


the heat for a couple of hours in my number one jacket has no comparison to the conditions that Service men and women in operational theatres have to endure day-to-day, wearing protective equipment and operating in intense heat.” Sharon, who works for the Royal


Naval Acquaint Centre in HMS Collingwood,


helping potential


uniform and as my group were the last to start it was around midday and was very hot especially in a black jacket.


ratings prepare for HMS Raleigh, said: “The ride was beautiful and I met some wonderful people. “There was a great mix of riders from novice to the professional, from young to old and they all had stories to tell.


“The highlight was finishing the ride in front of the gathered


racegoers at full gallop down the course across the finish line.” About 600 riders took part in the eight-mile ride and organisers believe the total raised for Help for Heroes will reach in the region of £300,000. Sharon, who has served in the RN for 21 years, was unable to push for sponsorship as much as she would have liked because of her serious illness. She said: “I set my goal to raise £1,000 earlier in the year and I am still aiming to get closer to that even after the event. “Currently I have collected £610 from only close family and friends.” To donate, go to http://www. justgiving.com/Sharon-Brown.


WO Dermot Roberts had a heart attack five years ago and a full hip replacement last January, but it didn’t stop him from leading HMS Albion’s cycling team on a 3,600-mile ride. WO Roberts pedalled the


equivalent distance from Devonport to Norfolk, Virginia, in 20 days, along with eight colleagues from the ship’s WO and CPOs’ mess. All eight were carefully selected to the most stringent standards. Dermot explained: “We discussed it in our mess and being the elder mess on board, a few members decided they wanted to show that they were not past it.


“So to get on the team we demanded two standards, you had to be over 40 years of age and you had to be overweight. He added: “Funnily enough,


we had no problems raising a team. We even called it the ‘Fat Forties’.


Riding with Dermot, the


other Fat Forties were WO Mick Ellison; WO ‘Pincher’ Martin; and CPOs Chris Ferrier, Paul Innes, Mick Hewer, ‘Ben’ Benwall, ‘Tex’ Marshall and Willie McBeth. Dermot explained: “There were


two main reasons I wanted to take this on – one was obviously to continue getting fitter, and the other was to say thanks to the surgical team under Dr Mark Williams at Derriford Hospital and the great work that HMS Drake Physiotherapy Department do.


“They were the reason I


recovered so quickly and their advice to me to carry on cycling gave me the idea.


“Without them I am sure I


would still be limping about.” He added: “The day we sailed from Devonport we started the ride and despite temperatures of 110 degrees F on some days we all completed the challenge with a day to spare.


● WO Dermot Roberts (who obviously enjoys having his photo taken)


“The temperature made the challenge that much harder and longer. “For most of us it meant getting up at five in the morning


to complete it on time. “Fortunately we managed it just before we arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, and raised more than £1400 for RN and RM charities.”


Donate at erskine.org.uk Erskine is the trading name of Erskine Hospital. Scottish Charity No. SC006609


decades, but he’s still fighting battles today.


● The Navy’s March for Honour team: CPO ‘Jan’ Matthews, LPT Leon Taylor, PO Suzie Parker, PO Kev Green (once known as the Baby-faced Assassin in his Naval boxing career but diffi cult to know why with the expression he’s pulling in this photo) and PO Jason ‘Taff’ Gadd


● Lt Sharon Brown and her horse Timba take part in Horses for Heroes


FOUR Forces teams are getting ready for the March for Honour, the event sparked by Royal Marine L/Cpl Ram Patten to raise £1 million for the Royal British Legion.


Ram runners


At HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth, the five members of the Royal Navy team – CPO Simon ‘Jan’ Matthews, PO Jason ‘Taff’ Gadd, PO Suzie Parker, PO Kev Green, LPT Leon Taylor – are beginning preparations for the challenge taking place this November. Teams from each of the Services will speed-march


an average of 30 miles a day from different bases in the country, carrying 40lbs, to meet in Wootton Bassett, then walk together into London to deliver the Book of Remembrance to the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance at the November ceremonies. The Royal Marines will start in Plymouth, the


Royal Navy in Portsmouth, the Army in Cardiff and the RAF in Wittering; the Royal British Legion Riders will meet and escort the teams along


Picture: LA(Phot) Chris Mumby


parts of their routes. When asked why they had chosen to take up this challenge, CPO ‘Jan’ Matthews said: “Partly because it’s a worthwhile cause, the casualties in Afghanistan are going up on a daily basis. You can only but feel for the families. “It’s the least we can do to support the guys that are frontline. It’s another way of giving something back.


run, but almost 300 miles of graft.” It’s a sentiment echoed by all those taking part. PO


“Also it’s a real challenge – not just another 5km


‘Taff’ Gadd has recently returned from Aghanistan, he said: “It’s to show support for those boys who have died in the line of duty. “It’s something that all of us in the military can come together and do as a complete unit.” To pledge your support, text ‘MARCH’ to 70222


(you will be charged £3 plus standard one message network rate) or visit www.march4honour.com/ donate.


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