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Major Roly Sutton: one more for the road in aid of Combat Stress

What are you up to this August? Going somewhere nice with the family? Taking a well-served break in the sun? Well, we know someone who’s taking on something altogether more challenging. Rather than putting his feet up on a beach in the sun, Major Roly Sutton of 156 Regt RLC will be trekking 24 marathons back-to-back in the Camino from Irun to Santiago de Compostela in aid of the Combat Stress charity. It’s a tough challenge by anyone’s standard; but Roly’s a tough chap. He’s completed other Camino’s before, and although he now faces his toughest challenge, we know he’ll be up to the job.

Why is Roly taking on such a monumental challenge? Well, we’ll let him explain:

What’s the motivation in taking on such a tough, gruelling challenge?

“It’s personal to me. I’ve lost a few friends to Combat Stress over the years, and my sister also suffered from this after active service in Northern Ireland. My main goal is to raise awareness about the aftereffects of stress on service personnel and how it can dramatically affect their lives.”

Is raising money an important consideration in undertaking the challenge, or is raising awareness more important to you personally?

“I suppose it’s about both really. Raising awareness is crucial, as it’s a big problem for service personnel, and I’m not sure the public really understand the scale of the problem. We’re losing 22 soldiers a week through combat stress. Unfortunately for those people who suffer from it the level of treatment available is pretty poor. Hopefully if I can raise funds through my Combat Stress challenge, I can use the money to help to improve the treatments available to my brothers and sisters who are affected by this awful illness.”  

Have you been affected by combat stress yourself?

“Yes I have been affected by combat stress in one shape or form. I’ve managed to get through most of it by myself, though I have my dark days. I also have bright days too, but the dark days are getting increasingly more common.”

What sort of personal challenges are you likely to face on the road from Irun to Santiago de Compostela?

“I know it’s going to be a tough challenge, but I’m confident I’m up to it. The plan is to start the trek on 17th August from Irun on the French/Spanish border and then follow the North Camino and then branch off, picking up from Muxia via Finisterre, then back round to Santiago. The length of the challenge is approximately 1,000 km (621) miles over every possible sort of terrain: the equivalent of 24 marathons. Hopefully with luck I’ll be able to complete the challenge in 24 days, and trek a marathon a day.”

“I’m pretty confident I’m up to the challenge, as I’ve done 3 Caminos before for Combat Stress. I’ve done the French Camino through the Pyrenees before, but I’m told this one is harder still. I suppose it will teach me to read the book before I accept any future challenges. Never the less, I’ve every confidence that I’ll complete the run.”

What’s your connection with TTA?

“I’ve known the staff at TTA for a number of years. I’m an employer engagement officer for the Royal Logistics Corps 156 Regiment, and part of my role is to visit business to promote working with and employing ex-service personnel. TTA, has a long history of active promotion of ex-service personnel and reservists, and because of the work they’ve done in helping former soldiers back into employment they are now deservedly holders of the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award.”

TTA, one of the leading logistics training organisations in the North west, is proud to support Roly and the rest of our brave service men and women. We believe in our forces and appreciate the many sacrifices that servicemen, women and their families have made for our country. TTA wishes Roly all the best for the challenge that lies ahead, and we’ve every confidence that he’ll measure up to what the route and the elements may throw at him in the coming days.

If you’d like to support Roly and make a donation to this very worthy cause, then please donate to www.justgiving.com/ROLYSUTTON61 or text code SUTY62 to 70070 with your donation. Any contribution you can make will be very gratefully received.

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