Father to yomp across the Downs for Richard

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IT’S A feat many wouldn’t dare take on.

But a non-stop, 100-mile hike of the South Downs Way holds no such fears for Robin Hollington, father of the late Marine Richard Hollington.

The 50-year-old will set off at 6.30am from Eastbourne bandstand tomorrow for a 36-hour trek joined by dozens of friends and family to raise money for Help for Heroes.

Mne Hollington, 23, died on June 20, 2010, after suffering catastrophic wounds from a bomb blast while on patrol in Helmand, Afghanistan.

His family want to raise £100,000 for the charity by the first anniversary of his death next month and they are very close as it stood at £97,000 at the last count.

Mr Hollington, who lives near Petersfield, has spent months training for the tough challenge and says he is ready.

‘It’s too late for me to back out now! I’m actually really looking forward to it,’ he said.

‘The weather looks just about perfect, with a slight bit of cloud around. I’ve had aches and pains in my knees, back and calves from training but I’m feeling confident.

‘The way I look at it is that at no stage will I have to walk anymore than three miles an hour and I defy anyone who is reasonably fit not to be able to do that.

‘The difference is that I’m going to be doing it for 36 hours. To me it’s more a mental exercise.

’I imagine the hardest part will be walking with head torches at night but between us I’m sure we will make it.’

The youngest member of the all-male team is 19 and the oldest is in his 50s.

Among the group will be 14 Royal Marines, including Mne Hollington’s Troop Sergeant, family members, close friends and staff and punters from the Seven Stars pub, near Petersfield where he used to work.

Along the way a team of supporters will be waiting for them at four food stations where they will pick up mugs of casserole to take along with them. They will use hydration packs and energy bars along the way and first aid kits have been provided by Boots.

The journey will finish in Winchester. Mr Hollington’s wife Jen will retrace the team’s steps in the opposite direction over five days with a group of four friends. Sponsor Mr Hollington by going to bmycharity.com/SouthDownsWayYomp.