A serviceman and three civilians are in training for a daunting SAS endurance challenge as they bid to make a little girl’s dream of a new wheelchair come true.
Next week the determined quartet will travel to the Brecon Beacons in Wales to take on the Fan Dance – the notorious 24km route march up Pen y Fan mountain that still forms the first major hurdle in selection for the elite SAS.
Lee Thompson, Warrant Officer Pete Dallaway, Jon New and Matthew Rowe will complete the 886m (2,907ft) climb and descent on June 23 – and then do it all over again the next day, all the while carrying 20kg back packs.
What will drive them on is their aim of raising money to buy a new all-terrain powered wheelchair for Pete’s six-year-old daughter, Daisy.
She has spastic quadriplegia hemiplegia cerebral palsy that affects all four limbs and a standard wheelchair restricts where she can go.
The team aims to raise £5,000 from the Fan Dance, but would love to exceed that total. The chair will cost £19,500 and should last Daisy until her late teens.
Pete, 38, who is serving with 42 (Alem Hamza) Support Battery, Royal Artillery at Baker Barracks in Thorney Island, near Emsworth and lives in Chichester, said: ‘It’s going to be tough, but it’s all about helping Daisy and that will get us through. An all-terrain wheelchair will make a massive difference to her life.’
The other members of the team are ex-serviceman Lee, 38, a paint shop supervisor from Emsworth, Jon, 32, also an ex-serviceman who is a mechanical fitter from Bognor, and Matthew Rowe, 47, a sculptor and model maker from West Ashling, near Chichester.
They have been training using steep inclines at the Trundle and Kingley Vale near Chichester and are prepared to push themselves to their limits and beyond.
Lee said: ‘I did the Fan Dance in January for The Amelia-Mae Foundation to provide support for neuroblastoma sufferers, so I know how hard it is. But this time we’ll do it twice in two days.
‘We’re up for the challenge and determined to do it for Daisy. We want to put a massive smile on her face, so please give what you can.’
To donate, please go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/daisydallawayelectricwheelchair.