Falkland yomp for charity

Graeme Yorston
Graeme Yorston

Some of the roughest terrain in the Falkland Islands was no match for two men from West Haddon as they trekked 120km for charity.

Steve Howard and Graeme Yorston yomped through peat bogs and over mountains to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Steve Howard

Steve Howard

The expedition of 11 business men and entrepreneurs, all part of the ‘April Fools Club,’ raised £176,000 to build two seaside holiday homes for serving RAF families.

The group, more accustomed to boardrooms and finance than peat bogs and tussock grass in freezing temperatures, followed the historic route taken by the Royal Marines 45 Commando Group in 1982 from San Carlos to Stanley.

Steve, chief pharmacist for Lloyds Pharmacy, said: “The yomp was incredibly demanding, both mentally and physically.

“The amazing scenery masks brutal terrain and the weather could change from sunny to sleeting in the blink of an eye. But it was an incredible experience to follow in the steps of 45 Commando and the yomp only deepened my respect for the service and sacrifice of all our military personnel.”

Graeme, a keen hiker and the son of a Second World War RAF veteran, said: “I’m so proud of the club for taking on the yomp. Knowing that the funds would be put to such a good use made the going a bit easier, especially when the wind and weather turned against us.”

The Falklands trek was the April Fools Club’s first fundraising effort and the funds raised will go towards the construction of two seaside apartments at the RAF Benevolent Fund’s respite centre, Princess Marina House, in Sussex.

The group benefitted from the support and counsel of patron Simon Weston OBE. Simon served as a soldier in the Welsh Guards and fought in the Falklands Conflict. After landing at San Carlos, he was onboard the Sir Galahad en route to Bluff Cove when the ship was bombed and Simon was burned over 46 per cent of his body. Since then he has become the public figure of the Falklands campaign and worked extensively for charity.

Simon said: “As a veteran, I know the challenges faced by military families and the importance of having time together as a family – particularly after long periods apart. The April Fools Club has done a tremendous job in raising over £175,000 for these seaside apartments for RAF families and I’m delighted to support their efforts.”

To support their fundraising effort, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/AprilFCFalklandsYomp