A hunting enthusiast is planning to walk 100km across France in three days during October with The Soldiers’ Charity to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.
Raising money for the Army Benevolent Fund, Richard Walton, from Somerset — who hunts with the Dulverton West and the Quantock Staghounds — has signed up to complete the Frontline Walk, which follows in the footsteps of those who fought on the Western Front.
“Hunts form a great community and there are very few organisations in existence today that still act as a community focus in modern society such as hunts did 100 years ago, so I am walking in memory of the members of hunt staff, gamekeepers, fieldsports employees, ghillies and the thousands of fieldsports enthusiasts that served our great country in World War I.”
Richard will be walking with his friend John Cavana, a former gamekeeper who now trains gundogs, and whose idea it was to take on this challenge.
Richard plans to wear “ratcatcher” with field boots for the duration while John will be dressed in keepers’ tweed.
“We are encouraging hunts to look back at their own history to find out more about their former members that may have served their country, been injured or perhaps given the ultimate sacrifice — it would be great to recognise the significant number who rallied for colours and who also shared the same passion for hunting and fieldsports that we do 100 years on. ”
The start of the walk will be at Lochnagar Crater in La Boiselle, France, which was created by a mine explosion on the 1st July 1916 – the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and will finish at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, with the Ceremony of the Last Post.
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Richard is no stranger to fundraising efforts, having been the mastermind behind the CountryCoats2Syria campaign earlier this year, for which more than 30,000 garments were collected from the hunting and fieldsports communities and sent to help those affected by the conflict in Syria.
To make a donation to Richard and John’s cause, click here.