FORMER members of the armed forces have taken up an epic challenge for a worthy cause.
Fundraisers walked 74 miles around the Isle of Wight to raise cash for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.
The feat took the six men, all regulars at The Royal pub, in Portsmouth, less than 24 hours and pushed them to their limits.
Nicky O’Halloran, Scott Schillemore, Callum Richards, Alan Wilton and Josh Owens are all ex-members of the forces while the group’s sixth member, Daniel Walton, is a petty officer in the Royal Navy.
Dressed in boots and combat trousers, the men set off from the pub in the early evening to take the hovercraft to Ryde.
After several hours walking they settled in for the night, sleeping rough on a traffic island and completed the bulk of the distance the following day.
Mr Wilton said: ‘The hospitality over there was amazing.
‘The landlady at the Sloop Inn offered us a drink and a carvery dinner, then the following day, we were invited into a woman’s house, boots, blisters and all, for tea and toast!’
Two members of the Trafalgar Drummers performed for the team when they arrived back in Portsmouth.
Steve Welch, landlord of The Royal, joined families and other spectators as they marched back.
‘It was just astounding,’ he said.
‘It brought home what this country is all about — pride and a pride in our armed forces.
‘It’s an absolute honour to have people like them drinking at my pub, I feel really proud of all of them.
‘They worked so hard organising it and training for it.’
The group would like to thank Hovertravel for their offer of free travel and support along the route. They are now hoping to continue fundraising for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, which aims to give a better quality of life to serving and former naval personnel.
To donate, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/theroyal