Rye Harbour veterans walk raises hundreds for charity

RAF sniffer dogs and their handlers with Huw Merriman MP at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for the veteran's walk
RAF sniffer dogs and their handlers with Huw Merriman MP at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for the veteran's walk

A walk for injured army veterans around Rye Harbour Nature Reserve raised more than £600 for charity.

Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman and Rye mayor Bernadine Fiddimore joined cadets, sniffer dogs and veterans on the five mile walk in aid of Walking with the Wounded and Combat Stress on Sunday, March 20.

The MP completed the walk in his crutches and was struck by the difficulty soldiers find when returning home with life-changing injuries.

“Our armed forces bravely put themselves in harm’s way so I was delighted to highlight the need to support those who return home with life-changing disabilities or post-traumatic stress,” he said.

“Doing the walk on my crutches brought home how hard it is for injured veterans to get around and why we need to do everything to support them.”

The walk was supported by cadets from No 88 Squadron Air Training Corps at Battle, who acted as stewards.

Walking With the Wounded’s Victoria Nicholson and Maria Fisher also joined in.

Maria’s husband, Matt, was severely wounded in Afghanistan, and he had intended to join, but was at the airport waiting to fly to Nepal to assist with building a school in a remote village.

A team of Royal Air Force police dog handlers, with their detection dogs, drove from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, undertook the walk and came back with very wet and happy dogs.

Organiser Andrew Seymour said a ‘very presentable number’ of people turned out for the event despite the windy weather.

“Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our event and especially those who have done so much by providing many services at no cost; we could not have organised the event without them. Thank you all,” he said.

Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex Peter Field wrote a speech congratulating everyone who supported the walk and boosted the total raised for the charities to almost £2,500.

“We must never forget the debt that we owe to our veterans, both young and old,” he said.

“We have an over proportional number of older veterans in our coastal towns and in our beautiful villages, with needs which increase by the day.

“We have our due share of younger veterans, who, in the era of combat medical advance show greater needs than those from past campaigns.

“And all of our veterans, young and old, have their share of those who are mentally scarred by their experiences.

“You are helping all of them.

“On behalf of Her Majesty, thank you.”

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