Waterlooville tree surgeon branches out in 64km bid to raise cash for Help for Heroes

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A TREE surgeon from Waterlooville is to take on a momentous challenge from Devon to Dartmoor for a cause close to his heart.

Nick Hoare will cover the 64km distance from Ivybridge, in South Hams, Devon, to Okehampton Army Camp on the northern edge of Dartmoor for the armed forces charity Help for Heroes.

The part-time hockey coach hopes to walk or run the challenge in just 13 hours.

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The 64x64 challenge, which also celebrates Nick’s 64th birthday, takes place next Sunday, September 4.

Nick Hoare.Nick Hoare.
Nick Hoare.

His eldest son, Aaron, now 28, suffered a breakdown while with the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, in Nigeria and it’s to help support people like him that Nick has chosen to complete the fundraising challenge.

He said: ‘The military didn’t support him in any way when he left; it was really hard on him and the family. He organised his own counselling and went back to his previous career as a mechanic.

‘A few years ago, I walked the Two Moors Way – 120 miles in Devon – from Ivybridge up to Lynmouth, in a week for his regiment’s benevolent fund, but that was quite niche, so I thought, this time, I'd do something to help out many more people.’

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As well as being a semi-retired tree surgeon, Nick is based at Havant Hockey Club and coaches goalkeepers across the country, including at Eton College. Although he’s had a few jobs down the years, it was while walking from Ivybridge to Lynmouth that he had an epiphany.

He added: ‘The walk changed my life while walking through a wildflower meadow, and that has made a huge difference to his own life.

‘That was three years ago, now, so since then I've been doing more hockey coaching and started working for the company that my youngest son, Tim, also a tree surgeon, was working for.’

He chose to raise funds for Help for Heroes to help increase awareness that veterans can experience both physical and psychological injury outside of a combat zone.

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Nick said: ‘I've seen Aaron come through quite a lot and he – and my other son – has been my inspiration to push myself to do this.’

To donate to Nick’s challenge go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Nick-Hoare64-64

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