Afghanistan veteran with medals and child
25 July 2014

SSAFA Trustee embarks on round Britain powerboat challenge

Powerboat enthusiast and SSAFA Trustee takes to the waters to help make a difference to the lives of veterans

SSAFA Trustee embarks on round Britain powerboat challenge

Alastair Gornall, Trustee of SSAFA will set out on a gruelling 1600 mile journey round Britain in a RIB powerboat, setting off from Southampton Dry Stack today.

The challenge, which is expected to take up to two weeks to complete, will raise vital funds for St Vincent’s, SSAFA’s care home for veterans on the Isle of Wight.

Alastair said: “We are hoping to raise £30,000 to pay for a new disabled bathroom at St Vincent’s. The cost of our adventure is being paid for by us, so all the money we raise will go to SSAFA.”

An ex-soldier himself, Alastair, 58, pursued a career in the media after completing his military service over 30 years ago. In his role as Trustee at SSAFA he offers extensive experience in the media, communications and exhibitions industry, as well as understanding the unique challenges that life in the military can present.

Located in Ryde, St Vincent’s is home to 25 veterans from all three services. The Victorian building has been used to accommodate servicemen and women since 1950 when it was opened as a home for those convalescing after World War Two.

The bathrooms have not been refurbished since the home’s last big renovation in the 1990’s and are now tired and in desperate need of modernisation.

Normandy veteran, Ron Crisp, aged 95, has been a resident at St Vincent’s for just over a year. Ron had been living alone after his wife died and begun experiencing difficulty getting around on his own. After a particularly bad fall that saw him end up in hospital with 10 stitches to his forehead, his daughter arranged for Ron to visit St Vincent’s. Ron took to the home immediately.

“St Vincent’s ex-service connection is very important to me. I had supported SSAFA myself when I served, both donating and raising funds. SSAFA had a good name back then and still does now – I like the way they do things.”

With regards to updating the bathrooms, Ron remarked, “The bathrooms are old, just like me, and are in much need of a makeover. I speak on behalf of all the residents when I say that a new bathroom will make a real difference to our home.”

Alastair will be joined by friend, marine boat builder and engineer Adam Pethick. The duo’s expedition will take them via the Isles of Scilly and Northern Ireland to Inverness, Whitby, Lowestoft and Ramsgate. They expect to arrive back in Southampton on August 4.