SOLDIERS preparing to deploy to a war zone have left a parting gift behind.
Weeton-based the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (2Lancs) found time to raise hundreds of pounds for charity while in training for their tour of Afghanistan.
More than 50 soldiers of Dettingen Company, the battalion’s support weapons company, raised £1,500 after taking on two mountain challenges during their winter training exercises.
Climbing in memory of their former colleagues – Kingsman Darren Deady from Bolton and Captain Andrew Griffiths from North Yorkshire – 30 soldiers took on a 3,000ft mountain in Scotland.
The climb was in honour of the pair who died as a result of injuries sustained the last time 2Lancs were in Afghanistan in 2010.
But a storm stopped the soldiers from scaling a second Munro peak.
Captain Ben Collier, 27, officer commanding Dettingen Company’s Fire Support Group (FSG), who led the 30-strong expedition to Scotland, said: “We wanted to climb two Munros, one in memory of each man, but we were hit by an horrendous storm and were forced to turn back after the first peak.
“Having the lads train together and take on challenges together makes them stronger and more able to face the pressures of working in Afghanistan.”
A dozen other soldiers took on the Three Peaks Challenge, scaling Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in just 24 hours despite knee deep snow in places.
Corporal Martin Shaw, 31, led the group who took on the Three Peaks Challenge.
He said: “Because we could only do this in winter we climbed two of the peaks in the dark.
“But I really enjoyed it so I’ll be going back in the summer to take in the views that we missed this time.
“I’m glad we were able to raise so much for our charities.”
The cash was presented to the regiment’s headquarters at Fulwood Barracks, Preston.
It will be donated to the regiment’s own charity fund and Help For Heroes.
The battalion is now preparing for deployment to Afghanistan to support the Afghan National Forces.
Cpl Shaw added: “I’m looking forward to going to Afghanistan and I think everyone in the unit is as well.
“The build up has been a busy period for everyone and we just want to get out there now.”
The soldiers are due to go out to Afghanistan this month.