TWO former soldiers are preparing to carry up to 50 pounds in weight during a gruelling 12-hour challenge to raise cash for their wounded colleagues.
Ex-servicemen Ryan Lewis and Caleb Gallagher are staging a loaded march - a military exercise to march at speed carrying heavy weights - from Harrogate, in North Yorkshire, to Hindley in aid of Help for Heroes.
Caleb, 19, of Hereford Street, Hindley, and 19-year-old Ryan, from Leigh, will carry 50-pound military packs for 67 miles as they aim to complete their trek within12 hours.
Ryan said: “I saw so many of my friends going out to Afghanistan when I was in the army. I’ve also seen the great work that Help for Heroes can do, so we wanted to do anything we could to help the charity.
“During our training, we regularly had to take part in loaded marches by running and marching at speed with weight.
“For this challenge we’ll be carrying 50 pounds of weight for 12 hours non-stop.
“I’m looking forward to it but it will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
“We’ll be egging each other on to keep going and hopefully we’ll get to Hindley in time.”
Ryan and Caleb, who met while serving in the same regiment, left the army last year after two years of service.
Friends and family will travel in a safety car alongside the pair during the trek to provide medical care.
Help for Heroes provides support for wounded military personnel and their families.
The ability to complete loaded marches is a core military skill in many countries.
However, in certain climates they are not practised since they would result in high casualties through heat exhaustion.
A loaded march is known as a “tab” (Tactical Advance to Battle) in the British Army and a “Yomp” in Royal Marines slang.
The most famous yomp of recent times was during the 1982 Falklands War.
After disembarking from ships at San Carlos on East Falkland, Royal Marines and members of the Parachute Regiment yomped with their equipment across the islands, covering 56 miles in three days carrying 80 pounds.
Ryan and Caleb will take part in the loaded march for Help for Heroes on April 16. To donate, visit www.bmycharity.com/12hourtab.