Fundraisers complete gruelling trek over South Downs Way for military charities

Walkers taking part in the South Downs 'yomp' organised by Robin Hollington in memory of his son Marine Richard Hollington, who died in Afghanistan jdDjhT1JyeYht03X71ey
Walkers taking part in the South Downs 'yomp' organised by Robin Hollington in memory of his son Marine Richard Hollington, who died in Afghanistan jdDjhT1JyeYht03X71ey
Crystal Collins, left, and Sharon Newell with some of the children by the pond 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (171116-8678)

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  • Father of Royal Marine killed in Afghanistan speaks of pride as fundraisers complete South Downs Yomp
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BRAVE fundraisers stretched themselves to the limit in an effort to raise thousands of pounds for military charities.

Current and ex-serving members of the Royal Marines joined by other supporters marched 166km (103 miles) across the South Downs Way over 36 hours.

It’s incredibly challenging, not just physically. It’s coping with the fact you are going to get blisters and aches and pains.

South Downs Yomp organiser Robin Hollington

The challenge was not for the faint-hearted as participants climbed 12,000ft along the route, which began in Winchester and ended in Eastbourne.

But organiser and former marine Robin Hollington said he was incredibly proud of everyone’s efforts.

In total, 64 people took part in the South Downs Yomp, raising money for Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

Other causes were supported, including Help for Heroes, UK Homes 4 Heroes and Royal Marine charity Go Commando.

Around £35,000 has been collected and more money is due to come in.

‘It’s a tremendous effort,’ Mr Hollington said.

‘It’s incredibly challenging, not just physically.

‘It’s coping with the fact you are going to get blisters and aches and pains.

‘It’s the fact you have 36 to 40 hours on non-stop walking ahead of you.’

Mr Hollington did the trek himself in 2011 after his son, Richard Hollington, of Stroud, became the 300th serviceman to die in Afghanistan.

Richard was 23 when he was gravely injured in an explosion in the Sangin district of Helmand province.

Mr Hollington, who served in the marines from 1979 to 1999, was determined to honour his son’s memory and raise money for others in the armed services.

Talking about the money raised at the weekend, Mr Hollington said: ‘It’s a start.

‘The fact is, the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund needs to raise £2.5m a year to maintain the charitable requirements it has. So £35,000 is a drop in the ocean.

‘But hopefully as the event goes forward, we can start to raise £100,000, £250,000 and get to 10 per cent of its needs.

‘We are going to give it a good go.’

He added: ‘We have had people who dropped out saying this year may have been a failure, but they are going to be back next year.’

Last year marked the Royal Marines’ 350th anniversary and the route was altered to make it exactly 166.4 kilometres to match the year the Marines were founded, 
1664.