Anniversary challenge under way to mark 350 years of Royal Marines

The Royal Marines on board the yacht Endeavour and below, Sgt Stuart Southwick Picture: L(Phot) Paul Halliwell
The Royal Marines on board the yacht Endeavour and below, Sgt Stuart Southwick Picture: L(Phot) Paul Halliwell

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AN ARMY sergeant is taking part in the challenge of a lifetime to help colleagues in the Royal Marines mark their 350th anniversary.

Sgt Stuart Southwick is one of a dozen crew members who are taking part in the sailing leg of a five-month long adventure called the Royal Marines 1664 Challenge.

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The event is broken into five phases – ski, sail, cycle, canoe, and run – and is in the middle of the sailing leg.

Parts of the challenge will take place in Portsmouth next month.

Sgt Southwick, 32 is the first mate on the yacht Endeavour which is being used for the challenge.

He said: ‘This has been a great opportunity to transport the Royal Marines on the sailing phase of the challenge.

‘I hope I am able to provide them with the best experience possible in order to make good speed to Spain.

‘I’m proud to be helping the Royal Marines in their 350th anniversary year.

‘We work closely together and I have a lot of respect for the work they do.’

The canoe phase of the challenge will reach Portsmouth on May 22. Those taking part will arrive at Eastney after a 30-hour journey from Port-en-Bessin in France.

A few days later, the run phase gets under way from Southsea. By the time the event has finished, 4,200 marines across the country will have taken part.

The challenge began in February in the very north of Norway, some 400 miles inside the Arctic Circle where Royal Marine commandos skied 1,664km down to Stavanger in the south, arriving at the end of March.

There a new team took over, boarding the 67ft long yacht, HMSTC Endeavour, and set a course for Cadiz, 1,664 nautical miles away in southern Spain.

When the yacht reaches Cadiz another group of marines will take over and cycle up to the French coast, there they will be met by other marines who will canoe across the English Channel and thousands more marines will take part in organised runs up and down the country.

The challenge aims to raise £500,000 for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

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