What began as general chit chat about a 60th Birthday celebration rapidly morphed into a walking challenge accepted by a group of nine people: seven military veterans, one close family member and a current serving member of the UK Armed Forces.

The group will be walking Hadrian’s Wall from Bowness-on-Solway in the West to Wallsend in the East over the period Monday 08 – Saturday 13 April 2024, in support of the Forces Children’s Trust.

Of the seven participating veterans, two are retired and the remaining five are employed in project, buildings, social care, and company management roles. One of the veterans, injured in service and unable to walk the route, will be providing valuable support throughout. Another participant is a sibling of the Birthday boy Ian Read, and the final walker is currently a serving member of UK Armed Forces. The youngest of the group is 36 and the oldest 62, with a combined group age of 488 years and an accumulated military service of 174 years.

The personal reasons for attempting this challenge are many, varied and include –

‘A 60th Birthday celebration’‘Been on my bucket list for a while’‘Previously lived in the area’
‘Walked part of the wall, but not all of it’‘Last time walked it, I was on patrol as a Centurion’‘Something I should have done years ago’
‘To carry the defibrillator for old friends’‘An injured veteran, unable to walk the route, providing support’‘Respect for past & present Armed Forces personnel’
‘Catching up with old friends’‘Being part of a team’‘I like a challenge’

The underlying thread is clear, it is a fantastic opportunity to work together as a team and raise funds for an amazing charity, the Forces Children’s Trust, during its 20th Anniversary Year. The funds raised will enable them to continue to provide outstanding support to Armed Forces and Metropolitan Police families dealing with the struggles associated with bereavement, children whose parents have sustained life changing injuries whilst serving, PTSD etc. Children who are carers and need respite! Children who need help with their mental well-being. This is a fantastic charity the group is proud and privileged to be associated with.