Falklands veteran from Gosport to pay tribute to fallen Marines during Great South Run

Royal Marine veteran Tony Ryan will be running the Great South Run dressed as a bear. He is pictured with son Oliver Ryan, 14, centre, and Matthew Elson, 14, left.
Royal Marine veteran Tony Ryan will be running the Great South Run dressed as a bear. He is pictured with son Oliver Ryan, 14, centre, and Matthew Elson, 14, left.
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A FALKLANDS veteran will be pausing for a two minutes silence at Portsmouth’s iconic Yomper statues to remember all his fallen comrades.

Tony Ryan, of Gosport, will be running the 10-mile route dressed head-to-toe as the Help For Heroes’ mascot, Hero Bear – all while carrying a hefty back pack weighing 23.5kg (52lb).

The 52-year-old former Royal Marine has already tackled today’s 5k dressed as the fluffy bear, complete with military fatigues, a helmet and a leg in plaster cast.

Speaking to The News, Tony said he would be stopping at the Eastney-based monument to not only remember his fellow Marines but to protest the planned move of the Yomper to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

‘The Yomper is part of Portsmouth and it must stay where it is,’ he said.

‘I know the Marine who that statue is of. It absolutely cannot move.’

Tony served more than ten years with the Royal Marines and fought during the Falklands War and in Northern Ireland.

Since he left the force, he has tackled a number of long distance events in fancy dress, including the London Marathon. His previous outfits include a monkey and a rhino.

But he said that this year’s Great South Run will be one of the toughest yet.

‘You can hardly see anything in front of you when you’re wearing this bear outfit,’ he said.

‘And the backpack is going to be pushing down on my neck, driving my head forward.

‘The run is not going to be easy at all.’

He ran the 5k today along with his son, OIiver, 14, and his boy’s friend, Matthew Elson, 14.

Aspiring young triathlete Oliver said he was proud of his dad’s efforts but added: ‘It is weird seeing him dressed up as a bear.’

Tony is raising money for Help for Heroes and the Royal Marines Charity.