Soldiers’ march for comrades

Gunners Jake Thornton, Daniel Capps, Tom Malcolm and Bombardier Aaron Tomkinson.
Gunners Jake Thornton, Daniel Capps, Tom Malcolm and Bombardier Aaron Tomkinson.
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BLACKPOOL soldiers put themselves through a massive fitness test to raise money for an injured Fylde coast serviceman.

Gunner Jake Thornton, the brother of tragic soldier Lee Thornton who was killed in action, and Aaron Tomkinson, a serving Bombardier with 47 Regiment Royal Artillery, marched 26 miles down the Promenade carrying 19 kilos of kit on their backs.

Two cadets – Daniel Capps and Tom Malcolm – also took part in the challenge to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research and Sgt Ricky Clement’s charity ‘A Soldier’s Journey’.

Organiser Bombardier Tomkinson, 39, from Bispham, said: “We thought this was an ideal opportunity during the London Marathon run to do something a little bit harder.

“I’ve run the London Marathon five times but wanted to do something a bit closer to home.

“These are two really great charities and we hope to raise £1,000 for them.”

The team marched from Freeport in Fleetwood to the sand dunes at St Annes and then back again in six hours.

Bombardier Tomkinson added: “We got lots of brilliant support along the way. A lot of people stopped us in their cars to give us money. Coral Island raised £561 which was great.”

The lads only stopped for 15 minutes during the whole journey to pop by the Supporting Our Brave shop on Bank Hey Street.

Gunner Thornton, from Marton, said: “It was challenging but achievable.

“We had 19 kilos of kit with us which is what it’s like when we’re out on the field.”

The 19-year-old has followed his late brother Gunner Lee Thornton’s path into the Royal Artillery.

Gunner Lee Thornton died in September 2006 after being shot in north of Basra, Iraq, aged just 22.

Jake added: “I’ve been in the Army for two years and a gunner for two years. I think Lee would be really proud.

“Charity work like this is a lot of the stuff he used to do.”

Sgt Clements, from South Shore, who lost both his legs after being severely wounded in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2010, said: “I am delighted and honoured Aaron and his friends are doing this to help me.

“It’s a massive help towards my target of raising £10,000 to give to lesser known charities and causes that support our Armed Forces and veterans.”