Former Corby Royal Marine takes on Churchill's commando challenge for charity
The challenge takes place on Armed Forces Day - June 26
A former Corby soldier who grew up in the town is preparing to tackle a legendary nine-mile speed march to help the Royal Marines Association charity.
Born and raised in Corby, Jason Paterson served in the Royal Marines for 12-and-a half years and will put on his army boots for one last yomp on Armed Forces Day - June 26.
The fundraiser replicates a Second World War march and will take place at the original location, the Spean Bridge in Achnacarry, Inverness, with the same kit weighing 32lbs (14.5kgs), a weapon and challenging time limit.
Jason said: "We will be raising monies but more is needed to help the Royal Marines Charity who have been fantastic to veterans like myself over the years and especially over Covid.
"I personally have found it tough as I have been unable to see my wife in Australia who is my rock. It's challenging times and it's been tough. Bearing in mind my PTSD condition as well, this effects my way of thinking and coping mechanisms.
"Without my brother Lee Paterson's help and support over the years along with Royal Marines Association and my wife who knows what would have happened."
On June 26, a group of nine elite veterans, headed up by ultra marathon runner Chris Thrall - a Royal Marines veteran - will take on the speed march.
The march was a test devised by Churchill who sent prospective commandos from the south on a 14-hour journey to the Spean Bridge railway station. When they disembarked they were given a weapon and full kit. They had sixty minutes to complete the speed march from the train station to the Achnacarry Castle. All those who didn't complete the speed march within the time limit were immediately returned to their unit.
Jason, who attended Beanfield Secondary School, is no stranger to pushing himself physically after being based in many units and squadrons around the globe in operations and deployments.
He said: "The facts are harrowing: one serviceman or woman will die by suicide every five days - with 32 having died in total in the UK this year. There have been 286 suicides over the past three years. The stark reality of these figures becomes more meaningful and painful when it is someone you know, have worked with, served alongside or are the relations left behind to manage and grieve.
"The march was an arduous challenge which will also test today’s veterans. The endurance test is intended to go some way to reflect the daily struggles of many veterans and their families. Every day a Royal Marine, serving or veteran, will consider taking their own life."
He added: "The Royal Marines Association provides a vital lifeline for veterans and their families by providing a range of help. This includes housing, medical - physical and psychological - education and retraining support services.
"Working under such extreme conditions and having faced incredibly traumatic situations leaves many with extreme PTSD and unable to function properly. It is something that most people cannot understand or relate to but it is an issue that we can all help with."
Joining Jason are Darren Adam, Ross Cooney, Andy Duncan, Jonathan Porter, Chris Thrall, Stephen Boden, Ric Coulson,
Click here to support the team's GoFundMe page at https://gofund.me/speedmarch. Jason is encouraging anyone who can help to visit the page and make a much-needed donation.