Tom proud to be part of Royal Air Force team set to carry RAF 100 Baton across the UK

Tom, from Maghull, is among a team of mechanical engineers from the Royal Air Force who have been selected to carry the RAF 100 Baton across the country to celebrate the service’s centenary.

They will be taking the baton with them as they attempt to complete the ‘three peaks’ challenge in 24 hours for charity.

Tom Carr, 22, will be among a team of ten who will take on the challenge, climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon.

The specially designed baton set off on a journey around the UK and abroad on April 1 and will be carried by different volunteers that all have a connection to the RAF, and will visit 100 sites around the UK associated with the service.

The team will be raising money for the four main RAF charities, which are: The RAF Benevolent Fund; The Royal Air Forces Association; the RAF Museum; and RAF Charitable Trust.

The RAF 100 Baton will be delivered to The Queen in London on July 10 at Horse Guard’s Parade.

The group are all based at Number 4 School of Technical Training at MOD St Athan. The group are training to be general technicians.

Tom said: “We will be pushing ourselves to the extreme to climb the three highest mountains in the UK in under 24 hours.

“It will be tough, but being part of the RAF 100 Baton Relay and also raising money for the RAF 100 appeal is a great privilege for us all.”

The team will set off from MOD St Athan in Wales on June 15 and stay overnight at Lochaber Air Cadet Squadron.

They will then tackle Ben Nevis first, followed by Scafell Pike and then Snowdon.

Tom added: “I am doing this because it is important to remember and thank the veterans who fought and died for the sake of our country, and the Air Force.

“It is also important to thank the people serving today in uncertain times and also to inspire the next generation to ensure the Royal Air Force can last another century.”

Blind Formby veteran Roy finally honoured for helping liberate France during WW2

A blind veteran from Formby has been finally honoured for his part in helping rid France of Nazi occupation.

92-year-old Roy Stinton was this week formally presented with the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur for his part in the liberation of Europe during World War II.

The ceremony was organised by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women, from whom Roy receives support.

A proud Roy was presented with the prestigious honour in front of his friends and family in Llandudno.

Roy said: “I feel very privileged to have received this fantastic award. I would like to extend my thanks to the French government for recognising the part that I, and so many others – many of whom are sadly no longer with us – played in helping to liberate their great nation.

“I joined the Royal Navy in 1943.  I told them that I’d like to be a gunner, like my brother, but they said I was too good for that!

“They told me they had some new anti-submarine detection technology being installed in HMS Stalker, the ship on which I eventually served.

“Even the Americans didn’t have it. In fact it was so sensitive we were told not to wear our badges while off-duty for fear of being interrogated.

“I took part in the landings in the South of France, as well as Rangoon.

“During D-Day we were in a rest camp in the Atlas Mountains. It was an extremely tough time for my family as my brother was on a ship that came in from Gibraltar.

“Unfortunately, they told me I wasn’t allowed to see him, or indeed anyone at all. It was very hard indeed.

“Later I was transferred to the Far East where I was on minesweeping duties.

“I was in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, just six months after the atomic bombs were dropped.”

Despite the many horrors and atrocities Roy witnessed, he still maintains several positive memories of his time in service.

“He explained: “I look back on the war with good and bad feelings.

“Being in Hiroshima on my 19th birthday, seeing the devastation that had taken place, it’s the kind of thing you’re desperate to forget immediately. It’s one of the most harrowing things you’ll ever see.

“That being said, we had some good times and I met some great mates. But even then, there are times when you don’t think you’re ever going to come home. It’s a surreal thought and impossible to describe.”

After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Joyce, in 1948, Roy set up his own fuchsia business in 1950. He recalls: “It started off slowly but progressed well. I had a good name for quality, not necessarily quantity. There were so many new gardening centres opening up all over the country, and they were looking for something different.”

Unfortunately for Roy, his eyesight has long been a troubling factor in his life, though he admits it wasn’t until six or seven years ago that it began to severely impact his day to day capabilities.

He says: “It all began in earnest around six or seven years ago. I already had age related macular degeneration, so it was gradual, but still very tough.

“I can’t read anything, but I can see people walking towards me, and from about two or three paces away I can recognise them.

“It was my hospital radiologist who initially suggested Blind Veterans UK to me, and thank goodness they did. We’ve been to the charity’s Llandudno centre and absolutely loved it.

“The staff were wonderful, they couldn’t do enough for you. I just couldn’t believe there were people like that in the world. I’m proud to be part of the charity.”

Roy said: “The helpfulness of the staff at the charity’s centres is superb. I hope that anyone who’s entitled to their fantastic support is able to make use of it and discover that they do not have to battle blindness alone.”

Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 and the charity’s initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in the First World War. But the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning WWII to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For more information about the work of Blind Veterans click here.

 

Marathon man Gary takes on grueling Mount Everest challenge for Marie Curie hospice

A MARATHON mad runner will risk life and limb to conquer Mount Everest in a grueling 26 mile challenge later this month.

Amid potential avalanches, debilitating atmospheric changes and sheer drops, legal eagle Gary Friday of Southport Citizen’s Advice Bureau will take on the Mount Everest Marathon on May 29 to raise vital funds for the Marie Curie Hospice in Liverpool.

Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest marathon in the world., the Everest Marathon starts 17,000ft above sea level at the Everest Base Camp in Nepal before running 26 miles down hill to the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar – 6,000 feet below!

But before Gary, 47, can even think about strapping on his running boots, he’ll have to fly into the most dangerous airport in the world where his plane will land on a short uphill runway and narrowly stop before hitting a sheer rock face.

If Gary survives this part of the ordeal he will then trek through the Himalayas to the Everest base camp before being lectured on the dangers of sudden avalanches and loose rocks underfoot – before he finally gets to start running!

He will do all this – as well as camping in freezing temperatures – for the Marie Curie Hospice in Liverpool in memory of both his parents who he lost to cancer.

Speaking ahead of his journey, Gary told the Champion: “We will trek for 12 days to 18,500 feet above Mount Everest Base Camp  following which I will compete in the Tenzing Hilary Marathon.

“Ahead of that I will be spending two nights acclimatisation under a canvas tent in Minus 20 conditions at Mount Everest Base Camp!

“That’s providing all goes well when we first arrive in the Himalayas!

“After arriving in Kathmandu we take an early morning flight to Lukla – one of the most dangerous airports in the world.

“It has an uphill runway and a rock face at the end of it so there is no margin for error.

“Very few pilots are able fly in there as there is no radar or air traffic control and once a descent is made to basically spot a postage stamp in the Himalayas, there is no turning back either you land or you don’t.

“Around the middle of last year I was visiting the Marie Curie Hospice in Liverpool and noticed a large figure on the wall of £6397.

“On making enquiries I was informed this is how much it costs to keep the Hospice for the terminally ill open for just  a single day.

“I lost both parents to cancer and have always held an enormous debt of gratitude for the kind treatment and inspiring compassion they received from Marie Curie.

“I echoed the desire to help the hospice to my friends Roger and Ray and collectively it was agreed we would endeavour to trek to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal in an attempt to raise the £6397.

“But that was on the condition I ran the Everest Marathon.

“Somehow I cannot help feeling I drew the short straw but to aid the hospice which treats all people with any terminally illness from all over Sefton and Liverpool, it is more than worth it.

“For someone who has never camped in his life and does not really like heights, this really will be a baptism of fire and way beyond what I have ever experienced in marathon running.

“I’ve previously ran difficult marathons in Moscow, Bangkok, Auckland and New York for charity but this will be the toughest yet.

“This is seen as one  of the most torturous and arduous endurance tests in existence.

“Reasonable runners take anything from eight to 11 hours to finish due to the air being 50% thinner than normal and the brutal jagged rock face terrain.

”I do not pretend to being apprehensive about the marathon given the Avalanche which killed people at Base Camp around 18 months ago and the earthquake to hit Kathmandu last year.

“But at the same time I am excited and inspired to give something back to Marie Curie who made my family’s pain so much easier to deal with.”

For more information or to sponsor Gary visit http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Gary-Roger-Ray-Everest.

Southport college staff take on cycle challenge for Claire House

Staff members from a Southport college are currently cycling 1,300 miles to raise money for Claire House Children’s Hospice.

Brian Sheard and Paul Antonio are well on their way through their blistering journey from Southport College to Barcelona.

If all goes to plan the cycling mad duo will arrive in the sunny Spanish city by Friday (May 26).

Brian, a Director of Facilities Management at Southport College, said: “Following on from the 24 hour Southport to London Charity Cycle Challenge we did in 2016, we’re both going a step or two further this year!

“We hope to cycle the 1,300 mile route over 14 days with one rest day in the middle.

“The first three days and 300 miles incorporated a cycle from Southport, along the border with Wales to Bristol, then the final UK leg to Portsmouth where we caught an overnight ferry to St Malo in Northern France.

“The next four days consisted of around 100 miles per day of cycling through central France before reaching our first rest day in Chasseneuil sur Bonnierure, near Limoges.

“After a well earned day off, there are seven days comprising of an arduous cycle over the Pyrenees Mountains, past Andorra before eventually crossing the border into Northern Spain and entering Barcelona.”

The duo plan to cycle into the city on Friday, May 26 if all goes to plan.

Paul, Head of Information Services at the college, added: “The cycle is totally self-funded and self-supporting, and we carry all food, water, safety equipment and cycle spares needed for the trip.”

A walk to remember as 1000 take part in annual Star Trekk for Queenscourt Hospice

Over one thousand people have once again took part in the annual Queenscourt Hospice Star Trekk walk.

The final total of how much the myriad of walkers have raised for the Town Lane based hospice is yet to be revealed, such is the amount of donations staff need to tally up – but they say they are overwhelmed with the support Queenscourt received last week.

Last year the walk totaled an incredible £87,000

Men, women, children and even dogs took on the seven mile round walk through Birkdale and Southport on Friday evening (May 19), most of whom have known a friend or relative who have experienced care from Queenscourt at one time or another.

Carolyn Gorman, fundraising manager at Queenscourt, said: “For once the weather was really kind to us and this helped to create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere at the event.

“As usual spirits were high and the feedback that we have received so far is very positive and lots of our participants have been sharing photos with us via social media.

“We won’t know the final total raised for several months yet as sponsorship money from individuals does sometimes take a while to collect and for them to bring in, but I am hopeful with so many people getting involved that we will get close to the £87,000 raised from the 2016 event!”

 

Southport Rotary Club golf day raises £4000 for Rainbow House

An annual Rotary Club golf day in Southport has raised £4,200 for a disability charity.

The 27th annual Business-Amateur competition, hosted by The Rotary Club of Southport Links, amassed £4,200 for Rainbow House – an Ormskirk based disability charity which helps disabled children and their families become more independent.

A spokesperson for the Rotary Club of Southport Links said: “Despite the dismal forecast the weather on the day was cloudy with sunny spells.

“A total of 15 teams took part with HB Villages securing the win with a score of 92 points, closely followed by the team from Southport Insurance Brokers with 89 points.

“‘Nearest to the pin’ was won by Tom Dickinson, a guest of the Firwood Timber team; and the ‘longest drive’ was won by Ian Monaghan of the MJ Quinn team.

“Carole Cochrane CBE, CEO of Rainbow House, expressed her delight that such a large amount was raised on the day and confirmed that the proceeds would go towards continuing to provide conductive education and specialist treatment for severely disabled children.”