Soldiering on for the cause

Nigel, Steve and James Buck
Nigel, Steve and James Buck
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TWO army comrades who walked from Leeds to Whitby in 24 hours almost ended up with hypothermia as they reached the end of their gruelling journey.

But Nigel Marshall and Steve Robertson made it in the end in their plight to help raise enough money for a memorial bench to former colleague John Buck - a Whitby soldier who died in Germany just before Christmas.

They had hoped to raise half of the £1500 needed for the bench, which will be sited on the West Pier, but have actually made over £1000 just from the walk.

It brings the total raised to around £3000 with other donations and a memorial service which was held in Germany.

Nigel told the Gazette: “If we have raised that much money for the memorial bench fund I’m pretty sure it will take the total above what is needed to be able to buy the bench which is absolutely fantastic.

“People have been wonderful in their generosity, especially in the current financial climate, but what impressed me most is when I asked people to sponsor me, they have taken the time to read what I have written about John Buck and what it is we are trying to achieve in his memory.

“That means far more to me than a donation from someone who has shown no interest and is simply donating to get rid of me.”

They set off from Leeds on Friday 23 February and arrived in Whitby at around midday the following day accompanied by John’s father Ted, brother James and nephew Tyler who had joined them at Sleights for the last four miles.

But it was the stretch prior to this, around the Hole of Horcum, which had given Nigel and Steve cause for concern.

It was 3am at this point, they were sweating from the uphill struggle and the chilling wind was making them more tired and even more cold.

They were struggling to keep warm and recalling their army training they both knew they were entering into the early stages of hyperthermia.

This was the point they called for their back up vehicle and warmed up in sleeping bags, ate, had hot drinks and got some sleep.

At around 9.30am they wearily arrived in Sleights for the last leg of the walk.

Nigel added: “Despite Ted being 64, he is still a very fit man and set a pace our aching limbs did not like one bit, but this was the last stretch of the walk.

“Their company and conversation took our minds off our feet and legs which were by now screaming for a some respite, but as much as they had boosted us and helped us to keep the pace it was with relief that we sighted the bandstand as we walked along the quayside.”