A former RAF crewman is bringing his incredible nation-wide challenge to Wellingborough on Monday, July 15.
Ben Greer, who completed six tours in Afghanistan as a Chinook helicopter crewman, is walking 444 miles across the length and breadth of the UK to raise funds and awareness for the 444 servicemen and women who have so far lost their lives in the conflict. He is completing the entire distance wearing a 100kg (more than 15 stone) backpack to reflect the weight of an injured soldier being carried from the front line.
On Monday, Ben will set off from Wellingborough Council’s offices at Swanspool House at 3pm to walk a total of 4.4 miles. The visit to Wellingborough is part of the final week of his challenge, which started back in March and ends in London next Sunday, July 21, as he completes his final stage between the Cenotaph and Buckingham Palace. He is hoping for as many people as possible to come along and support him, either walking with him, donating money as he passes, or simply cheering him on.
During his tours in Afghanistan, Ben and his colleagues were responsible for providing civilian and military casualty evacuation from the front line, as part of the Immediate Response Team.
Ben said: “Having been involved in a lot of the British casualty evacuations, many very successful but including those dead on arrival and those who have died later on, Afghanistan has not yet left me. That is why I am walking a mile to honour each and every British service person to have died in Afghanistan, currently sitting around 444. Each mile will be done with the weight of a combat soldier, in fighting kit, on my back to simulate evacuation from the battlefield.
“The Big Lift is all about raising awareness and funds. We want to make the nation aware that families all over the UK have lost loved ones, fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters, boyfriends, sons and daughters. We want to raise money for some of the incredible charities who provide much needed help and support to those left behind. It’s also about raising spirits. We want our men and women to know that their nation supports them, and that we will continue to support their families and honour their memory.”
Ben’s visit to Wellingborough has been organised by Cllr Lora Lawman, who is a county coordinator for Help for Heroes, one of the charities chosen to benefit from Ben’s challenge. Cllr Lawman is also Wellingborough Mayoress and said: “The Mayor and I are honoured to welcome Ben into Wellingborough. I will, both as Mayoress and also in my Help for Heroes role, thank him for his fantastic fundraising efforts and the incredible job he is doing to increase awareness of the enormous price paid by so many brave service men and women and their families. We have a great community spirit in Wellingborough, and I hope people come out to support this challenge.”