Soldier inspires pupils’ 10-mile sponsored trek
Pupils from The Old School in Henstead have completed a 10-mile sponsored walk inspired by RAF veteran Duncan Slater, who recently became the first double amputee to trek to the South Pole with a team of other injured service personnel and Prince Harry.
The entire school, including the nursery children, walked from their classrooms along the coast to Southwold on June 20 to raise money for Walking with the Wounded - a charity which helps to retrain and re-skill wounded ex-servicemen and women.
The school’s connection with Sgt Slater started last year when he visited with Walking with the Wounded charity members to talk about their work and the purpose of the South Pole challenge.
The school subsequently organised a sponsored walk along the coast to Lowestoft, and raised almost £3,000 for the charity.
Sgt Slater returned to the school earlier this year and inspired pupils so much with his story that they decided to hold another event to try to beat last year’s total.
Headmaster Joe McKinney said: “Duncan promised the children that after his Polar walk he would come back and tell us how he got on.
“When he came back he brought his kit with him and the children had great enthusiasm asking him questions.
“Having walked for Walking with the Wounded before and after another visit from Duncan we felt inspired to fundraise again for the charity this year.
“It is very much a part of what we do here to have an awareness and do things for those less fortunate.
“We were blessed with wonderful weather and it meant that all the children from the youngest child in nursery up to year 6 were able to complete the walk successfully.
“Our funds are still coming in but we are hoping that we have beaten last year’s total.”
Sgt Slater lost both his legs after a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan. His patrol vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated by an insurgent in Babaji, Helmand province, which propelled him 30ft away into a compound.
He was bed-bound for four months in Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham and fought a year long battle to try and walk again at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Unit in Headley Court, Surrey.
But with the damage to his legs being too severe, Sgt Slater decided to have both his legs amputated so he could play a more active role in his newborn daughter’s life.
Anyone wishing to donate to Walking with the Wounded can visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/HensteadHike