Tuesday, 16 April 2024
Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Fundraising septuagenarians trek 80-miles in Scotland

THE septuagenarian president of the Rotary Club of Chichester Harbour has walked almost 80 miles of the Cape Wrath Trail, in Scotland, in memory of her late father while raising money for both her organisation and Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes.

Anna Hutchings, 73, from Chichester, was joined by her friend Linda Smith, 76, also from Chichester, on a 79-mile walk from Cape Wrath to Lochinvar and has, so far, raised nearly £2,000, which will be split between the two charities, with the bulk – 75 per cent – heading to Help for Heroes.

Anna’s motivation came from her father, Arthur Randall (1910-2003), who fought with the Royal Engineers in Malaysia during World War II and was imprisoned by the Japanese in Changi Prison, Singapore, for three-and-a-half years.

She explained:

“His nightmare started with the British Army’s surrender to the Japanese in February 1942, and endured until the end of the war, in August 1945. Miraculously – and thankfully – he survived, but a healthy athlete and soldier at the start of the war, he returned home so malnourished, weighing only seven-and-a-half stones, that it caused permanent eyesight damage leading to blindness in later life.

“My dad suffered from the trauma of war all his life. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was not recognised in 1945. So, my personal president’s challenge, in memory of my dad, was to complete a seven-day 70-mile sponsored walk, in the far north of Scotland, to raise funds for Help for Heroes, which does such a wonderful job supporting veterans like my dad.

“We not only walked 79 miles, but we conquered the coast and some Munros [mountains in Scotland over 3,000 feet high] ascending more than 13,000 feet across the seven days.

“The route starts in the most northern part of the UK mainland. It’s said to be one of the wildest, but most beautiful routes, and is also described as one of the toughest. The whole route extends to 200 miles, but we did just 79 of them. That was more than enough.

“We call it a walk, but it was, definitely, no stroll in the park. It was hard at times and energy-sapping, but a great experience for two old biddies in their 70s – and not a blister between us.”

John Carpenter, Help for Heroes Area Fundraising Manager, was himself undertaking a fundraiser, in France – while Anna and Linda were trekking the wilds of Scotland – riding more than 300 miles in five days as part of the charity’s Big Battlefield Bike Ride.

He said:

“I certainly think I had it easier. Anna and Linda’s achievement is amazing and I’m sure Arthur would be immensely proud of his daughter for what she has managed and that she has chosen to support his fellow veterans with her kind donation, which comes at a vital time for us, at a time when demand for our support services is growing, yet our income has reduced by more than half since 2014.”

Help for Heroes champions the Armed Forces community and helps them live well after service. The charity helps them, and their families, to recover and get on with their lives. It has already supported more than 28,500 people and won’t stop until every veteran gets the support they deserve.

The Charity supports veterans from any branch of the UK military – regulars or reserves – irrespective of length or place of service, and locally embedded civilians (and their families) who worked alongside our Armed Forces.

To get support, please visit: helpforheroes.org.uk.


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