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North Luffenham war hero completes walking challenge for military charity

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A highly decorated war hero has completed a walking challenge in support of a military charity close to his heart.

Father of five, Gerry Wells, 95, of North Luffenham, has completed his personal challenge of walking along a popular landmark in support of The Soldiers' Charity.

Despite having limited vision and mobility, Gerry completed his 5k walk on Wednesday, August 25, at Rutland Water, after having to wait until the covid restrictions allowed him to complete it.

Left to right: Paul Beech of The Soldiers' Charity Committee, Gerry Wells and his friend, Bob Cruikshanks (50842335)
Left to right: Paul Beech of The Soldiers' Charity Committee, Gerry Wells and his friend, Bob Cruikshanks (50842335)

He said: "I was determined to complete my walk as soon as I could safely do so.

"I prepared for the walk by gradually building up my distances with the kind assistance of my friend, Bob Cruikshanks, who walked with me to keep me safe, both in practice and on the day."

"I was delighted but exhausted; I'm thinking about what I can do for my next challenge and am open to ideas."

After leaving school at 17, Gerry served in the Sherwood Rangers, one of five squadrons of the Royal Yeomanry 8th Armoured Brigade.

The squadron became part of a tank regiment and was involved with the fighting in Normandy in 1944; Gerry is now the only surviving member of his tank crew, and was determined to walk in their memory.

Gerry received the Legion d'Honneur for his courageous service in Normandy, which is France's highest decoration.

Since leaving the military Gerry has been an English teacher, and has had two volumes of his memoirs published as well as his wartime memories.

Paul Beech, who sits on the committee for the Leicestershire and Rutland branch of The Soldiers' Charity knows Gerry very well.

He said: "The Soldiers' Charity is the perfect recipient of any donations in support of Gerry's efforts with his history of armed service and the honours he received for his bravery in battle.

"The charity exists to give a lifetime of support to the wider Army family, regardless of where or when a soldier served."

He added: "They act swiftly and efficiently in providing support in the form of grants to those who find themselves in real need; they also provide grants to charities who support the wider Army family."

If you would like to donate to Gerry's fundraiser you can do so on his JustGiving page

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