A soldier from North Yorkshire who helped to train Ukrainian forces is planning to walk 80 miles in full army kit to raise money for refugees.
Sgt Stuart Collins, who lives in Catterick, is hoping to complete his ‘tabbing’ challenge, which is a fast paced walk with a weighted bergen, from Wiltshire to the Ukrainian Embassy in under 36 hours, draped in the Ukrainian flag.
Sgt Collins was awarded a medal from the Ukraine ministry of defence for his hard work and quality of his teaching of the Ukrainian army, including recruits, paratroopers and special forces, over a six month period.
He’s the first person outside of the Ukrainian army to be awarded this medal.
“I’ll be carrying my sleeping system, water, rations, wet kit and warm kit, just to survive on the ground. Hopefully I’ll be able to do it in 36 hours, purely by myself, and I will have the Ukrainian flag that I got while I was in Ukraine and that’ll be wrapped around my bergen.”
“I’ve got a close connection with the Ukrainian people. I was out there training the Ukrainian army how to defend themselves and fight if this day did ever happen. I met so many people while I travelled all over Ukraine. It’s a fantastic country and people are starting to see that now.”
On Wednesday 23 March Sgt Collins will start his journey in Wiltshire and end it at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London.
All proceeds donated to Sgt Collins Just Giving page will go to the British-Ukrainian Aid.
British-Ukrainian Aid supports people in any part of the world who are the victims of war or natural disaster, trouble, or catastrophe in particular by the supply of medical aid to such persons and organisations caring for them.
Over one million Ukrainians have now fled the country following the invasion of the Russian Army.
Sgt Collins added:
“I was awarded the Ukrainian medal from the Ukrainian MOD. Only Ukrainians have ever been given it so I’m the only one outside of their army to have one and it’s a great honour. That’s why I feel like I have a very strong connection with the Ukrainian people to this day.”
“In the British Army we’re used to walking and tabbing with heavy kit. It’s going to be tough but there are others in worse situations. Me just having a bit of sore feet or a bad back is nothing. I’ll just keep staying positive and once it’s all finished it’ll be worth it.”