Final long march looms for Ipswich councillor to boost soldiers’ charity

Alasdair Ross at the end of an earlier walk - he will not be carrying a fridge this time! Picture: A

Alasdair Ross at the end of an earlier walk - he will not be carrying a fridge this time! Picture: ALASDAIR ROSS. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich councillor and former soldier Alasdair Ross sets out on Wednesday for one last long march to boost a cause dear to his heart.

Mr Ross, who served in the army in Northern Ireland and the Balkans, returned to uniform for a six-month tour of duty as a reservist in Afghanistan a few years ago and has been a long-term supporter of the charity Walking with the Wounded.

He is now planning his third, and final, long walk to boost funds for the charity – a leg injury will prevent him from taking part in any long marches in the future.

He will be walking from his first-ever army posting, Oakington Barracks in Cambridgeshire, home to Ipswich on Wednesday and Thursday – sleeping in a tent in a field near Long Melford on Wednesday night.

The total walk will be 61 miles with his tent and camping equipment on his back.

Walking with the Wounded is an East Anglian-based charity that helps service personnel that have been injured or suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while serving their country.

Mr Ross said: “They helped one of my former Riflemen – Simon, moved to 3 Rifles and served in Afghanistan in 2010, he may have already been suffering PTSD after the loss of a close friend in his Battalion, he was then injured by shrapnel and left the army.

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“He struggled to keep down a job, turned to drink and found himself in trouble with the police.

“Walking with the Wounded has helped Simon, who was set up with a placement at Starbucks, this then moved to a full time job, since then he has completed a course in property maintenance and has had help with his mental health issues.

“He now wants to start his own property maintenance business. This was achieved thanks in part to the sponsor money you have donated for my last two trips.”

Mr Ross said he would raise more funds for the charity in future – but not by doing long, solo, walks.

“I am sure there will be a few tears, thoughts of giving up and a few strops, but I know the cause is a good one and so that will keep me going. I am sure it will hurt, I will limp more but that is nothing to the pain that some ex-soldiers go through daily due to physical and mental injuries that they received whilst serving us.”

If you want to support Mr Ross, visit his charity website.