Fareham-based Navy veteran, Mark Wilson, battled the Portsmouth Half Marathon in his first ever distance run to raise money for national children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers. 

Ex-Royal Navy Sailor of 29 years defeats first distance run

Former Submariner, Mark Wilson, triumphantly completed the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon on 2nd February 2020, raising almost £600 for national bereaved Armed Forces children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

Mark, who served in various conflicts across 29-years as a sailor on various ships in the Royal Navy, including stints on HMS Chatham, HMS Boxer, HMS Fearless, HMS Southampton and HMS Talent, and is now working as an Analyst based in London, saw Scotty’s Little Soldiers on the televised Remembrance Sunday March and instantly felt that he wanted to contribute to the charity.

Mark said: “When I was serving, I saw a lot of devastation and unfortunately knew of other serving personnel not make it back home, which is heart breaking. At the time, I never really thought about the effect it had back home as the instant impact in the moment was so tough to bare. It’s when I saw Scotty’s Little Soldiers on TV that I thought about the destruction it causes back home. I wanted to tackle a distance run anyway and I immediately thought ‘that’s the charity for me’. It’s the children back home who feel the effects and the full weight of the damage. They are the little heroes, so I wanted to give something back to them.

“It was very daunting at first, starting the training was challenging and difficult. On the day the run was very tough, with lots of different, rough terrain – I’d only trained on pavement! It was windy weather too, but it was worth it even if my legs are still recovering! The day was brilliant, I managed to complete it in 2 hours and 3 minutes which I’m very pleased with as it is under my target time, and now I’ve got a taste for it I plan to do more fundraising in the future.”

Founded by war widow Nikki Scott in 2010, Scotty’s Little Soldiers has supported 410 bereaved British military children and young people across the country in 2019 alone. The charity was set up in memory of Nikki’s husband and father to her two children, Corporal Lee Scott, after he was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. 

The charity supports families in a number of ways, including providing access to the very best health and wellbeing care, offering outstanding development opportunities through a range of activity and educational grants, and Scotty’s helps put smiles back on those brave faces by providing respite breaks, posting them birthday and Christmas presents and remembering the anniversary of their parent’s death, as well as arranging events where bereaved Forces children from all over the country come together to have a great time and form friendships with kids in the same situation.

Nikki commented; “What an achievement for Mark to have completed his first long distance run and to have raised such an incredible amount for Scotty’s. We wish him the best in his future fundraising and running endeavours (and hope his legs recover soon!). Thanks to his efforts, he’s helping our children smile again.”

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