Father of hero marine leads walk over South Downs

Funeral  6/7/10''The Funeral of Royal Marine Richard Hollington at All Saints Church, Steep near Petersfield. Pictures from the order of service

Funeral 6/7/10''The Funeral of Royal Marine Richard Hollington at All Saints Church, Steep near Petersfield. Pictures from the order of service

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The father of the 300th serviceman killed in Afghanistan is to lead a non-stop fundraising yomp across the South Downs.

Robin Hollington, himself a former Marine officer, hopes to raise £50,000 for Help for Heroes in memory of his son Richard, pictured, who died aged just 23 after being caught in an explosion while on patrol on June 12 last year.

Richard’s Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, was conducting a reassurance patrol in Afghanistan for locals in an area to the south of Patrol Base Ezeray when he was seriously injured. He was airlifted back to Britain, but died from his wounds in the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham eight days later.

Richard played semi-professional football for Fareham Town FC before he joined the Marines.

Mr Hollington, who is managing director of Inspired Information, the official sponsor of the trek, has already undertaken a series of fundraising events for Help for Heroes, but the 48-hour, 160k non-stop yomp, carrying full kit will be his most challenging to date.

Starting on May 28, he hopes as many as 30 others as well as relay teams will join him for the event.

There are about 13,600 feet of ascent and descent and the trek is usually completed over eight to nine days, walking between 12 to 15 miles a day.

“Our experience of the week Rich spent in Selly Oak was truly shocking,” said Mr Hollington.

“In respect of the numbers and seriousness of the wounds suffered by our troops, but also complete awe at the care and dedication of the critical care staff. I would love the total raised in Rich’s memory for H4H to reach £100K by the anniversary of his death.”

Following Richard’s death, his parents opened a Just Giving page for donations to support H4H rather than cards and flowers, but it soon spiralled beyond their wildest imagination. By the time his mother, Jenny, ran the Great South Run, the adjusted target of £30,000 was blown out of the water, with a figure that stood at almost £50K.