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Retired serviceman puts heart and sole into challenge for heroes
HE is treading the thin line between pleasure and pain.
Alan Elliot will be baring his soles for an epic expedition in aid of severely injured and maimed soldiers.
The retired Army serviceman from Southampton will set out barefoot for a 70-mile hike r a i s i n g funds for the Help for Heroes charity.
And he h a s a l r e a d y had a legup for the gruelling j o u r n e y a f t e r receiving a seal of approval from Prince William and Prince Harry. Both royals sent a letter of support via officials at Kensington Palace, urging him to keep in touch with them as the big day approaches.
The former Royal Engineer sets off from Southampton Cenotaph, in Watts Park, on June 21 for a two-day journey to Brighton.
Those accompanying him on stages of the journey along public footpaths include soldiers from Hampshire’s Princess of Wales Royal Regiment (PWRR), also known as the Tigers, and Park Gate Army Cadets.
Alan, 58, from Bitterne Park, who has served for 24 years in the 151 Regiment, said: “This walk is for all the guys who have lost limbs and suffered terrible injuries.
“It is my little bit to raise awareness of the pain they go through every day. The walk will hurt me for a couple of days, but it’s something I can live with.
“I’ve had amazing response so far, and to hear from the Princes is more than I could have hoped for, and will really spur me on.”
But the care support worker, who started training last May, admits there could be s t u m b l i n g blocks along the way as he pushes the pain barrier.
He said: “The important thing is to watch out where you are treading so you don’t step on anything.
“It takes extreme concentration and you have to be careful of loose stones and broken grass.
“Gravel is the worst, and where possible I will try to keep to grass verges.”
Friend Mark Collis, 48, from Thornhill, will be walking 50 miles of the route before removing his shoes for the final stretch along the seafront.
He said: “It’s a really good way of trying to tell people some of the suffering troops go through.
They do it for us and to keep peace, and they deserve a lot more recognition.”
The party will stop at Fareham, Portsmouth and other towns and cities along the way for collections and stay overnight in Chichester where cadets will put them up.
l Visit bmycharity.
com/everyonesahero to donate.
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