From time to time, Homes&Travel has featured a group or an individual aiming to help others by fund raising. Retired RAF Chinook helicopter crewman, Ben Greer, is now one third of the way through a gruelling 440-mile walk with 100kg on his back, the equivalent of a 16 stone man. Each mile of The Big Lift is in honour of a British serviceman who’s lost his or her life in the current Afghanistan conflict. So far over £6,000 has been raised for charity – but Ben eyes much more.
33-year old Ben from Docking in Norfolk says: “I completed six tours of Afghanistan between 2006 and 2010 and had the pleasure of serving alongside some of the bravest young people I have ever met. As a Chinook crewman, our main job was to provide casualty evacuation from the frontline and, while many were successful, the memory of those dead on arrival, or who went on to die, has not and will not leave me.
“They have paid the price while I continue to live in comfort and their sacrifice must not be taken for granted. This is why I am walking a mile for every one of them while carrying the weight of a combat soldier on my back. It’s gruelling, the backpack weighs more than me, but it has to be horrific to make people sit up and take notice.”
Ben doesn’t want The Big Lift to be a morbid event, but instead to raise spirits and he continues: “For many of us, the thought of losing a loved one is unimaginable. For British service families, this is unfortunately something dealt with on a daily basis. We want our men and women to know that their nation supports them, and that we will continue to support their families and honour their memory.”
The Big Lift will cover 100 locations throughout the UK with Ben walking a back-breaking 4.4 miles at each. From Burnley to Bournemouth, Coventry to Chelmsford, the full schedule is available on The Big Lift website and event organisers hope that plenty of people will turn out, cheer him on and maybe even walk a mile or two with him and volunteer to help collect donations from the local public. The challenge finishes on 21 July, fittingly at London’s Cenotaph.
The five beneficiary charities are SSAFA, Help For Heroes, RAF Benevolent Fund, Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
For more information on Ben’s endeavours or to volunteer, visit www.thebiglift.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To sponsor, go to www.justgiving.com/teams/TheBigLiftChallenge or text TBLC50 followed by £ and the amount to 70070.