Afghanistan veteran with medals and child
17 September 2013

Injured Ex-Soldiers March Length of England for SSAFA

Two injured ex-Servicemen are preparing to march from All Cannings in Wiltshire to Nenthead in Cumbria to support SSAFA.

Injured Ex-Soldiers March Length of England for SSAFA

Two injured ex-Servicemen are preparing to take on a challenge like no other when they march from the King’s Arms in All Cannings, Wiltshire to the Miner’s Arms in Nenthead, Cumbria. Ian Teasdale, from Wiltshire, a former member of the Royal Artillery and his cousin, Edinburgh based Steven Cooper, formerly of the Rifles will set off on their Gunner March on 2 October to mark Ian’s 40th birthday.

The two former soldiers are making the gruelling journey of 280 miles on foot and it is expected to take them both nine days. The pair are hoping to raise over £4000 to thank SSAFA for the charity's support following injuries they sustained whilst serving in the Army.

Ian first came into contact with SSAFA after being seriously injured in Bosnia in the 1990s including severe memory loss, sight loss and shrapnel across his body. Finding himself unable to work or drive, Ian needed some assistance and SSAFA helped to find him a home and get him back on his feet.

Happily at the beginning of September Ian married Rebecca Robbins, daughter of the Venerable Stephen Robbins – former Chaplain General of the Army and now president of SSAFA’s Wiltshire Branch.

Ian’s cousin Steven Cooper served in 3rd Battalion, the Rifles, formerly the 2nd Light Infantry, for over 15 years taking him to overseas locations in the line of duty including the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. Shortly after returning from his last tour in Afghanistan, Steven was injured during a training exercise and was medically discharged from the Army last year. SSAFA helped Steven buy an orthopaedic bed and provided other support to help him cope.

The long march will take the cousins from Ian’s home village of All Cannings in Wiltshire to Nenthead in Cumbria, which is the Robbins family's home village. Physically it will be a huge challenge – not least because Nenthead is the second highest village in the country. The journey will take them almost the length of England and they will be passing through locations such as Cheltenham, Worcester and Wigan.

Ian Teasdale says: “I’m calling my challenge the Gunner March having served in the Royal Artillery for many years. I’ve chosen to raise money for SSAFA who really helped me out when I needed it. With my 40th Birthday and wedding coming up it seemed like the perfect time to take on a task that is both very personal to me but one which I hope will help and inspire people who find themselves in a similar situation to mine.”

Steven Cooper says: “SSAFA does such a lot to help those who have served that I thought it would be a nice gesture to give a little bit back by taking on this adventure to fundraise for the charity. I was Ian’s best man at his wedding so when I found out about his long march I decided to step up to the challenge and march along with him.”

SSAFA Community Fundraiser, Megan Bailey, said: “We really wish Ian and Steven all the best with this incredible challenge and are proud to be behind them every step of the way. The money they raise will make it possible for our staff and network of volunteers to be there for those who are currently serving or ex-Service and their families, whenever and wherever they need us.”

Visit Ian and Steven's Gunner March fundraising page to show your support for their challenge.