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Blyth arrive from


SIX crew members from HMS Blyth shrugged off the autumnal dampness to run from Rosyth, where their ship was in refi t, to the town of Blyth, the minehunter’s northeastern spiritual home. The men covered a distance of 120 miles, and raised almost £3,000 for their charity, the Blyth Valley Disabled Forum. And naturally, being Naval

types, they had to do it the hard way – carrying their own tents, sleeping bags, drinking water and 24-hour ration packs... The team’s efforts were led by the ship’s CO Lt Cdr Des Donworth, who was urged on by the ship’s dive team Coxswain PO(D) Kris Fenwick, AB(D) Kris Cunningham, AB(D) Stephen Bradley and AB(D) Haydn Serres, and LCIS Marcus Swales. The team were welcomed into Blyth by the town’s mayor and members of the charity, which provides transport in the local area for the disabled, frail and elderly, and offers respite for carers.

at blythtoblyth.

Pledge your support online

A veteran’s Christmas Carol

THREE ex-Servicemen, including one Naval veteran, who have experienced homelessness at Christmas have joined together to produce Veterans Voices: A Christmas Carol. The short film, where the men revisit their worst Christmases – a bleak beach, in prison and in a car – then look forward to how their lives have improved, was put together by charity Veterans Aid. The charity’s CEO Dr Hugh

Every step counts on Gumpathon

SIX runners set out from New York in early September. Six runners arrived in Los Angeles in November. Six runners ran a total of 3,530 miles across America through 16 states, four time zones,

three deserts and ten mountain ranges. Over 63 days, one of these men was running. That was the

Gumpathon. First, let us turn to Marine Mark Ormrod, inspiration to the men of Hasler Company and triple amputee; then next to his friend who created the challenge CSgt Damian Todd, a Royal Marine of 20 years standing, and the man who dreamt up the epic Gumpathon plan, named for the eponymous Forrest Gump. Master Gunnery Sgt Charles ‘Chunks’ Padilla has spent 28 years in the US Marine Corps, but

in that time managed to

Milroy said: “We made the film for two reasons. Partly because the men themselves wanted to give something back and send a message of hope to others like them – and partly to set the record straight about what help is available to ex-Servicemen and women who get into difficulties. “There are more than 5.5 million veterans in the UK, and more than 3,000 charities and support agencies dedicated to helping them. Around 94 per cent of those who leave the Armed Forces make a seamless transition back into civilian life. “Those who don’t seem to

attract a disproportionate amount of publicity – perhaps because they don’t know who to come to or how to access help. “That must change and perhaps the experiences of Nigel, Jonathan and Darren can help it happen.”

Aid’s website www.veterans-aid. net in due course.

Triton row

RETIRED offi cer Cdr David Hosking was rowing across the Atlantic as Navy News went to press.

The former commanding officer of minehunter HMS Sandown now has a somewhat smaller command, yet he and his Team Hallin ocean rowers are aiming to become the first team to row across the Atlantic in under 30 days. And as well as beating the

complete the Royal Marine Mountain Leader Course and the All-Arms Commando Course; in comparison Marine Jamie Jobson is a mere stripling with three years service in the Royal Marines. Cpl Lloyd ‘Crazy’ Fenner has been a Royal Marine since 2003, and collected 45 Commando’s The Sun True Grit Award on behalf of his unit; and SSgt James ‘Jim’ Mazzoni-Dalton served with the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment from 1998, before transferring into the Army Physical Training Corps as an instructor after six years with the Paras, and can now be found working alongside the Marines at 29 Command Regiment Royal Artillery in Plymouth. The runners were supported throughout their long journey by SSgt Caroline Wilde REME, Claire Worsley, Kester Jackson and Paul Shearsby. It was the injury of Mark in Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 2007 that sparked Damian to turn his idea of running across America into reality. And he wanted to take Mark with him. When Mark was asked to take

part initially, he couldn’t walk half a mile – but he set himself the challenge to run at least one mile each day during the long transit, and on one day pushed himself to notch up five miles.

The King sings

● The Gumpathon team: SSgt Jim Mazzoni-Dalton; Marine Jamie Jobson; Cpl Lloyd ‘Crazy’ Fenner; CSgt Damian Todd – the man who dreamt up the idea; Master Gunnery Sgt ‘Chunks’ Padilla USMC; and Marine Mark Ormrod

“The challenge for me has been

tough,” he said. “My advice for anyone who has recently been injured is: if you set yourself a goal, don’t

let anybody tell you

that you can’t achieve it. “Because I was told I couldn’t

walk three weeks after I was injured. And now I am running.” While Mark was pushing himself to beat his daily one- mile target, his teammates were covering between 16 and 24 miles each day, and sometimes pushing themselves even harder to cover personal targets along the way. The Royal Marine

called on

people to support his team’s epic efforts crossing North America. A message echoed by Jamie in his Gumpathon blog: “Now to everybody back home

we really need your help! I know we’re smiling in all of the pictures but trust me we are crying on the inside! “Every one of us has picked up

Jane keeps on walking

at least one injury, our bones ache first thing in the morning and last thing at night, we have blisters, shin splints, clicking ankles and knees, bruised heels, colds… “The list could go on but I’ll round it up by saying we’re all hurting, but all of this will be in vain if we don’t raise as much

The film will appear on Veteran

WALKER Jane Carter (left) has presented £900 to Hasler Company at HMS Drake. She said: “I chose to support Hasler because they are a local deserving cause in the south-west. “We

hear a lot about the

Marines and what a good job they do in Afghanistan. “I also

like walking and was

looking for a new challenge to raise my fitness levels and for a focus. I know the Marines also have to be very fit, so it fits in with their profile.

money as we can for our chosen Service charities. “Nearly everybody knows somebody who is, or has served, in the Armed Forces at one time in their lives, these people fight for our freedom so we can all sleep safe in bed at night. “They never ask for anything in

return even though some of them have come home severely injured from war, missing limbs, loss of their sight, loss of their hearing, receiving brain injuries and some Service personnel haven’t made it home at all. “We all have personal feelings on situations but we are not here to pass judgement or start debates. “We are here to return hope

to so many lives, to help families and friends who have found themselves in the worst possible circumstances. “We are here to make a change

and that is where we need you.” The charities that will benefit from the UK and US Marines fundraising efforts are: the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund; Help for Heroes; and the Semper Fi Fund for injured US Marines.

YOU can pledge your support by texting GUMP to 70800 to donate £5 or online at

THE King isn’t dead. He’s just living in Devonport. The King (pictured) – aka Elvis

impersonator CPO Gary Stones of FOST – wows the crowd at a stunning fund-raising night for Service charities at HMS Drake. Some 750 guests crammed in to

was a more serious reminder of why the audience were there. Guest of honour – and the

Wyvern Sports Centre for a varied evening’s entertainment provided by sailors and Royal Marines who have honed their talents in mess decks, flight decks and establishments down the years. And while the acts wowed on

stage, 40 trainee sailors from HMS Raleigh waited on the tables, raffle tickets were sold and a cocktail bar also raised funds, while palm and tarot card readers and magicians moved among the tables; the performers gave their services free of charge. Guests

Admiral Chris Snow, Plymouth’s Mayor Cllr Mary Aspinall, and, er, Nasty Nick from EastEnders (aka John Altman).

included FOST Rear

evening’s speaker – was WO1 Matt Tomlinson RM, who earned the Military Cross for saving comrades in Afghanistan (and the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his actions in Iraq).

faded, some £12,000 had been raised for Help for Heroes, Royal Naval and Royal Marines Charities and the Corps’ Hasler Company, which helps injured green berets return to fitness and active duties. For all the acts, the event was a huge step up in terms of the large- scale audience,” said organiser WO Neal Frame. “They all performed brilliantly on the night in front of the appreciative guests. The amateur performers all gave up their time and services free of charge and would only take travel expenses as recompense.”

By the time the applause had Apart from the frivolity there

“So I chose Hasler Company and the challenging South West Coastal Path from Minehead to Plymouth. “I walked 411 miles in chunks over time between

April to

October. There were lots of hills. The longest period I walked for was eight days. The total was 35 days walking.” Marine Aaron Mearns accepted the donation, saying: “There are many uses the money can be put to, but ultimately it will all go to help us on our way individually.”

Wave Ruler helps Grenada charity

transatlantic rowing record, the team are seeking to raise £60,000 for Combat Stress, the Services mental welfare charity. Find out more online at www. and pledge your support online at www.

A FUNDRAISING day on board RFA Wave Ruler during their current deployment has helped out a Caribbean charity. After the day’s fundraising, the crew presented US$600 to the J J Robinson Trust in Grenada, which supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds to continue their studies. The Trust’s president Mrs Jean Robinson invited

Wave Ruler’s 3/O Flint and 2/O Fuller to visit one of the projects that the charity supports.

The Programme for Adolescent Mothers gives teenagers the opportunity to continue their education despite being expelled from school once pregnant. In addition to core subjects such as English and Mathematics, the school offers programmes in food and nutrition, and clothing and textiles. Funding comes from the government, UNICEF and other agencies, but the extra money will go to provide up-to-date textbooks, repair the leaking school roof, and provide a bigger nursery facility.

Seafarers help Santa

SANTA Claus has a new mode of transport

Royal Alfred Sleigh... Charity the Royal

(pictured above) in the Alfred

Seafarers’ Society has sent its mystery Santa on the rounds around Surrey to bring some festive warmth and cheer to the residents of the Society’s care home.

Despite the havoc caused by

the abrupt arrival of snowfall in the south, Santa was not delayed as he could call on the help of the Royal Alfred Sleigh, a new 4x4 Landrover.

RASS chief executive Cdr

Brian Boxall-Hunt said: “After the challenges we faced in 2009, the Royal Alfred Sleigh is an essential way to ensure we can continue to maintain the high standard of care

for our residents.

“Both staff and the local community have faced a difficult few weeks with deteriorating weather and so what better way to spread a spot of Christmas cheer than by Santa driving our Royal Alfred Sleigh. “We know that the estate can

survive independently in such conditions,

and the medical,

emotional and social needs of all our seafarers are met as normal, which is what counts. “Spreading a little Christmas cheer along the way helps and you can’t help but smile when you see Santa and his Royal Alfred Sleigh.”

The Society provides 56 beds

for nursing care and 22 sheltered flats.

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