Yomping in the footsteps of Tommies
Published on Wednesday 16 September 2015
UPDATE: They did it!
Congratulations to Chrstiaan and all of the team on their immense achievement. Some of us were proud to be with them when they reached their goal before 10pm – sore, tired, but jubilant.
Please don't forget to consider backing them with a donation via http://www.justgiving.com/teams/Leedspalsyomp or follow the instructions below.
We're supporting five fitness fanatics on a gruelling fundraising trek, recreating the journey made by First World War recruits a century ago.
Lewis & Cooper is sponsoring the team's 45-mile fundraising march on Saturday September 19 from the war memorial in Leeds, the city where hundreds of men answered the call to arms shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914 and signed up for the Leeds Pals battalion – so-called because recruits were encouraged to join up with their friends and workmates.
Next week marks 101 years since the Leeds Pals started arriving at Colsterdale Camp, near Masham in North Yorkshire, to start their military training before heading to the front.
They took the train for most of their journey, but marched the six miles from Masham station to the training camp.
The five fundraisers, two of whom are ex-Royal Marines who run a fitness company called Peak Military Fitness, will recreate the Tommies entire journey from West to North Yorkshire on foot, carrying packs weighing 55lb (25kg).
They hope to complete their task within 20 hours, setting off from Leeds at 4am and arriving at the Leeds Pals Memorial in Nidderdale on Saturday evening.
Calling their epic trip a yomp – Royal Marines slang for carrying heavy equipment over difficult terrain – the team members have been training for three months for their ordeal. Money raised will go to Mashams branch of the Royal British Legion and the Royal Marines Benevolent Fund.
They are: Michael Anderson, 32, from Birmingham – an ex-marine and instructor with PMF; Will Ashby, 42, from Masham; Christiaan Creaby, 36, a former marine and instructor from Leeds, and Chris Woodall, 35, from Northallerton. Heather Foxall, 36, from Masham, will also undertake the march but be spared the heavy pack, while Michael Creaby will drive a back-up vehicle.
Supporters can follow their progress via Facebook – www.facebook.com/Peak-Military-Fitness-580758411975753/timeline/ and even join in for the last leg from Mashams White Bear pub or the Black Swan in Fearby.
"As well as raising money for these important causes, we want to raise awareness of the Leeds Pals and those others who gave their lives in the First World War," said Christiaan.
"We plan to lay a poppy wreath at the start of the yomp in Leeds and also at the end, with one of the team carrying this wreath on their pack. We will also observe two minutes' silence at the Colsterdale memorial.
"The Pals were very brave men and their story is humbling. The loss of those killed in the war had a massive impact on their communities. I was born and breed in Leeds and am very proud of my city and its history, especially during its times of adversity.
Lewis & Cooper director Bettina Bell said the firm was delighted to get behind the project, she hopes to join the yompers on the last leg of their trip.
"We've helped PMF with previous charitable events and are really pleased to be able to support this gruelling march," she said. "We'll be with them all the way – in spirit at least."
Our charity of the year for 2015 is Help For Heroes.
* Anyone wishing to sponsor the team can do so via http://www.justgiving.com/teams/Leedspalsyomp
They can also donate by texting the amount they wish to give, plus the code LSPY64 (Royal Marines Benevolent Fund) or LSPY78 (Royal British Legion) to 70070.
* Peak Military Fitness (PMF) runs circuit training sessions and boot camps in Masham. For details, call 07834 015152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org