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Skipton Corporal tackles 77-mile challenge in Afghanistan
9:00am Sunday 28th October 2012 in News
A Skipton man, working at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, has just completed the equivalent of five half marathons in five days for an ex-servicemen’s charity.
Corporal Stuart (Stu) Burnham, a caterer in the Royal Air Force, ran 77.5 miles on a treadmill to raise money for BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association).
He was deployed to Kandahar in July as part of 904 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) and is currently completing a four-month tour as accommodation manager for all British personnel at the base.
On the final day of his charity challenge, the treadmill was moved outside into the British Welfare area where, in the late Afghanistan summer heat, he ran the final 13 and a half miles towards his goal.
Cheered on by Officer Commanding 904 EAW, Group Captain Richard Barrow and work colleagues, he raised a total of £367.40.
Stu said: “This charity is important because they provide rehabilitation both mentally and physically. Without the support of charity donations, they would not be able to provide this service to the heroes who put their lives on the line on operations.
“Initially people were curious as to why someone was running on a treadmill outside. When they discovered what I was doing, and why, they were very generous with their support.
“On the last run, not only was I physically exhausted but mentally and emotionally drained. The relief of knowing that I had finished what many had said was a crazy idea was incredible. I am already thinking of what to do next.”
Before deploying to Afghanistan, Stu ran the London 10k, organised Dinner Nights and sponsored walks with his Catering Squadron Training team. In total they raised £1,800 for BLESMA.
The team decided to support BLESMA after visiting an events fair where they met two individuals representing the charity. They were veterans who had been supported by BLESMA after losing limbs whilst on operations in Afghanistan.
Stu said: “This touched a nerve with me and I decided that BLESMA would be my chosen charity from that point forward. They do amazing work for servicemen and women who lose limbs or their eyesight whilst serving our country.”
Stu is looking forward to getting home at the end of the month.