Horses Help Heroes drive reaches its 1,009-miles target

  • Twelve fundraisers are recovering after driving 1,009 miles non-stop from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a replica World War I horse-drawn ambulance to raise money for injured servicemen.

    The team, which includes eight amputees, some injured in action, set off from Cornwall last Tuesday (21 June) and arrived in Caithness on Wednesday (29 June) having driven day and night for nine days.

    Nine pairs of horses were used.

    The endeavour, organised by paramedic Jacks El Tawil, is supported by numerous high profile figures, including Prince William, showjumper Michael Whitaker and eventer Mark Todd, who helped train the soldiers for their adventure.

    Mark said: “I was delighted when Jacks asked me to give a riding lesson to the wounded servicemen taking part in this amazing challenge. We had a great day, hugely inspiring.”

    Despite numerous setbacks — two support vehicles bursting tyres, a horse developing nettle rash and the brakes sticking on the ambulance after just seven miles — they achieved their aim and have raised £300,000 towards their target.

    “We have had the most amazing reaction from the public and the riding community,” said Jacks.

    “This journey was an incredible record breaking feat in honour of all our wounded servicemen and women, and we hope will continue to inspire people to give.”

    Eventer Mark Todd, dressage rider Laura Bechtolsheimer, carriage driver George Bowman and TV survival expert Bear Grylls all joined the fundraisers for part of the drive.

    They hope to raise £1m for Help for ABF The Soldiers Charity, Blesma and Combat Stress, by Christmas.

    To donate, go to www.horseshelpheroes.org.uk.

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