Soldier takes on desert challenge

HAVING successfully completed his first marathon, a former soldier is preparing for another mammoth challenge.

HAVING successfully completed his first marathon, a former soldier is preparing for another mammoth challenge.

Darren Aitchison is getting ready to undertake a trek across the desert to raise money to help his old army colleagues injured in action fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Mr Aitchison, 39, who lives with his wife and four children in Constable Road, Felixstowe, is to be part of the Pilgrim Bandits team walking 110 miles in five days across the Sahara for the Help for Heroes charity.

The team of about 20, with a Bedouin guide expert in survival techniques, will face extreme temperatures and a wild landscape.

During the day it will be 36C to 40C but at night, as they camp, it will drop to 5C.

He said: “I am really looking forward to the challenge. We will be aiming to cover more than 20 miles a day but it will be different from the London Marathon as will be walking and doing it at a slower pace.

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Mr Aitchison, served 12 years with the Royal Engineers and now works for independent IT security company Integralis Ltd.

He added: “Because it will go from being very hot to very cold, we will need a range of clothes and equipment, plus tents.”

He raised �4,500 from his marathon run in April and is hoping the Sahara adventure in November will raise more for the charity.

Each person has to raise �2,500 for the charity and towards the trip cost plus extra from sponsorship.

He is holding a street collection in Felixstowe town centre on September 12 and a silent charity auction at the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell on September 15 with a range of lots, including a photo session worth �450, Ipswich Town tickets, and a year's free gym membership.

Anyone who would like to donate an item for the auction can contact Mr Aitchison by email darren_aitch@hotmail.com or on 07712 779791.

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