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Soldier’s march to resort

Former soldier Paul Watkins-Wright is walking 140 miles from Saltburn Pier to Blackpool over seven days to raise money for Help for Heroes and attend his former regiment's reunion.

Former soldier Paul Watkins-Wright is walking 140 miles from Saltburn Pier to Blackpool over seven days to raise money for Help for Heroes and attend his former regiment's reunion.

Planes, trains and automobiles are being cast aside by a former soldier planning to walk hundreds of miles to attend a reunion with his old regiment in Blackpool.

Hairdresser Paul Watkins-Wright will walk the 140 miles from Saltburn Pier to Blackpool over seven days to meet up with his old Army friends on Saturday.

The 54-year-old set off from the north east coast pier at 7am on Sunday to arrive in time for the Royal Artillery’s 49 Field Regiment’s reunion at the Hacketts York House Hotel, on Queens Promenade.

Mr Watkins-Wright, who served in the same regiment as his father, brother, two uncles and brother-in-law, joined up when he was 20.

He said: “I went to see my brother, who was then serving in Germany, and thought ‘I could do this’ and that was that.

“I joined and left in 1995.

“In recent times we have seen and heard a lot about our injured soldiers.

“But it’s not just guys that are currently serving that need help; it’s also soldiers that served in my time that may need help.

“When I decided I could attend the reunion whilst raising money for Help 4 Heroes – it was time to stop thinking and act.”

The father-of-four, from Whixley, near Harrogate, will be walking around 20 miles a day and intends to visit Catterick Garrison, in North Yorkshire, to visit the Help for Heroes centre, which helps injured servicemen and women.

From there he will head to the Pennine Way, taking in Settle, before moving south west to Newton-in-Bowland and Inskip, before finishing in Blackpool.

He added: “It was my Uncle Bernard who actually started our annual reunions, back in the early 90s.

“It started off as a few friends meeting up, and as word spread more and more people wanted to be involved and it grew from there.

“It is a great way of staying in touch with old friends and for us it’s a bit of a family affair with so many of us having served in the regiment.

“I’ve managed to fit in some walking around my work and family commitments, but I expect to have a few blisters along the way.”

His family will meet him in Blackpool for the final leg of the walk to the hotel where the annual reunion will take place. Paul’s journey can be followed on his Salon’s Facebook page: Watkins-Wright Hair Knaresborough.

 

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