April 20 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
A former soldier who is undertaking a mammoth charity trek round the UK coastline in a mobility scooter has thanked the people of Suffolk for “terrific support and a wonderful reception”.
Father-of-two Mark Newton, a former member of the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards who was invalided out of the Army, has been on his Around Britain Challenge since April last year and has so far covered more than 6,250 miles.
He has also raised £19,500 so far for Help for Heroes; the Royal British Legion; Royal National Lifeboat Institution; Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association; and the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards Benevolent Fund.
When he arrived at Felixstowe, Mr Newton, 48, who is travelling with his two cats Smudge and Missy with his Beamer Tramper TWS Class 3 mobility scooter pulling a trailer specially to sleep in, was met by the mayor Jan Garfield and paraded along the prom to the town’s War Memorial.
He spent the evening at the Royal British Legion.
He said: “I had a brilliant time in Felixstowe – it was great fun.
“Everyone in Suffolk has given me terrific support and a wonderful reception.
“All I need is a plug a day to recharge my scooter for the next day’s journey, but people have been so kind and helpful and lots of people have donated to the charities.”
Mr Newton, who comes from Swansea, said it had not been the same everywhere around the coast.
He had been greeted with hostility in some places and in one town his scooter was attacked by a man who snapped bits off it.
He said: “Not everyone agrees with supporting military charities – they have some strong views on where the forces should be sent.
“I was only doing my job as a soldier and didn’t have any say in that.”
He had to retire from the army in 1991 after he injured his leg while on duty with the United Nations in Cyprus and said military charities had helped him hugely.
Mr Newton is travelling 20-25 miles on average a day and plans to be on the road until the autumn when he will end phase one of his tour in Lochgilphead in Scotland.