A WIGAN soldier has spoken of his terror of being in Nepal at the time of the devastating earthquake as he prepares to run a marathon to help with relief work in the country.
Duncan Southern-Naylor, a sergeant in the Royal Army Physical Training Corps in the British Army, says he feared for his life as buildings began to crumble around him.
Following the quake, the 31-year-old spent days in the country helping with the relief efforts at the British Embassy.
And upon his return to the UK, he wanted to do something to help the ongoing relief work.
Speaking of the disaster, Duncan said: “We were over there training the Nepalese army who had asked for assistance.
“I was one of four people sent there. The day of the earthquake, we were on our way back from a coffee shop when it struck.
We were really scared, all the Nepalese people came running out of their houses and surrounded us. People were screaming, it was absolutely horrificDuncan Southern-Naylor
“I dropped to my knees and thought I was fainting or something. It was only after a good few seconds that I realised what was going on.
“The buildings around us were all shaking and the earthquake gradually built up.
“We thought they were going to fall over and fall onto us. We didn’t know whether to run or stand still.
“We were really scared, all the Nepalese people came running out of their houses and surrounded us. People were screaming, it was absolutely horrific.”
As everything began to settle, Duncan returned to the army base where he later overheard a conversation about how the British Embassy was full of Britons in need of help.
He then volunteered to travel there and help with the efforts. Being the most senior soldier, he led a team of four who had to care for the needs of 150 people.
He said: “My role was to manage the security of the embassy, cook three meals per day to feed around 150 people we had at any one time, to provide shelter, blankets, water, spare tentage, camp cots for the elderly and to generally manage all of the personnel who were seeking assistance.
“Initially we were going to be at the embassy for 24 hours, however, we spent four days there working 20 hour days to ensure that everybody who stepped foot into the embassy was safe.
“After four days, I was sent back to the UK as the Gurkhas had arrived as our relief.”
Since returning to the UK Duncan says he has been “overcome with guilt” for leaving and for not being able to do more for the thousands that he saw first-hand camping outside and for the hundreds that came to the embassy with nothing left.
As a result, he has decided to raise money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust Nepal Relief Fund as he was told by the Defence Attaché in Nepal of the fantastic work they do and are now doing after the earthquake.
He said: “My event is called Run For Nepal. On July 26 I am running the Bath Marathon carrying a 15Kg Doko basket.
“My aim is to raise as much money as possible and in five days have raised nearly £900.
“I’ve done a few half-marathons in the past but never a full one and certainly nothing with an extra 15kg attached to me! That’s the whole idea though, that it will be that bit tougher so people may donate that bit extra.”
To sponsor Duncan, visit www. ustgiving/runfornepalmarathon.