Afghanistan veteran with medals and child
4 September 2014

Ex Para sleds for SSAFA

An Army veteran is raising money for SSAFA and the Parachute Regiment Charity by undertaking three fast-paced and thrilling sled dog races across Canada and Alaska.


Ex Para sleds for SSAFA

An Army veteran is raising money for SSAFA and the Parachute Regiment Charity by undertaking three fast-paced and thrilling sled dog races across Canada and Alaska.

Jonathan Fletcher, former soldier in the Parachute Regiment and originally from Liverpool, is currently training to be a Dog Musher in Alaska.

John will be taking his Alaskan Huskies across the snow wilderness when he competes in two mid-distance races early next winter. The first in January 2015 will be the Copper Basin 300 mile race in Glennallen, Alaska (a 12 dog team) and the second, in February 2015, is the Yukon Quest 300 mile race at Whitehorse, Canada (a 14 dog team).

These races will culminate in The Yukon Quest due to take place in February 2016. A long distance sled dog race at 1,000 mile, will cross the Frozen (and not so frozen at times) Yukon River, over mountain ranges and include the 'make or break' Eagle Summit, which has been known to force out even the most experienced of mushers in the past.

Jon has been raising money for the Parachute Regimental Charity for many years but decided on this occasion to also make SSAFA one of the benefiting charities, so that he could show his support for those from all three services.

“I know people who have been helped by SSAFA, from Northern Ireland, to Afghanistan and even those still serving.”

“I also know that they cover all generations and families of those who have served and this is really important to me.”

Jon told us that his training was going very well and as he looked towards his long distance race in 2016, he said: “It is an extreme climate out there. The race will be hard and will take me to the limit of my endurance with minimal sleep over almost two weeks, driving the dogs into the unknown.”

“I will be self-sufficient, carrying everything in my sled including frozen blocks of dog meat, survival equipment and more, so the sled is heavy - but easy for the fourteen awesome dogs to pull.”

Jon is completely self-funding the challenge, which includes his costs for travel and accommodation, each time he makes his way over to Alaska to train with the Alaskan Huskies.

“Self funding means I am currently paying for all the training, lease of dogs, food, accommodation, equipment and flights to Alaska out of my own pocket, which also means that no vital funds are being taken or being asked of the charities to provide.”

“Everything raised in support of my challenge will go towards my chosen Service charities.”

To show your support for Jon and help him reach his target, you can visit his fundraising page.

To find out more information about Jon’s challenge, and also how you can become an official sponsor of his challenge here.