Royal Navy sailors run half marathon for charity

Twenty-one sailors from HMS Bangor swapped their working rig for sports kit as they took part in the Bahrain half-marathon to raise money for Blind Veterans UK.

Despite it being the middle of winter in the Middle Eastern kingdom, temperatures had reached 20 degrees by 9am, ensuring the runners were put through their paces. All completed the race in good time and were in high spirits at the finish line.

First across the line for the crew was Able Seaman Diver Charlie Dutton, who said: “I was amazed that I finished first, I have been training hard for the race over Christmas but I wasn’t ready for just how hot the sun was going to be on the day.”

Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan’s) is a national charity that believes that no-one who has served our country should have to battle blindness alone.

It provides blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women with lifelong support including welfare support, rehabilitation, training, residential and respite care. 

I’m really proud of my team and all of their hard work, both in fundraising and in the race itself.

Lieutenant Commander Tom Weaver

The idea to fundraise for the charity started with Petty Officer Engineering Technician Leighton O’Doherty, 32, from Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, who ran the half marathon back in 2014. He is passionate about fundraising for Blind Veterans UK as the charity supports his uncle, an Army veteran.

Gunnery Officer Lieutenant Ben Smith completed the half marathon in two hours and nine minutes. He said: “The race was tough but we all worked really hard in the heat. I’m just happy that we can do our bit for such a worthy charity.”

Overall the crew managed to beat their target of £2000 with a total amount raised of £2478.75.

The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Tom Weaver, said: “I’m really proud of my team and all of their hard work, both in fundraising and in the race itself.

"The heat was a real test on the day but they all rose to the challenge to complete the race. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored us.”

The sailors of HMS Bangor, usually based at HMS Clyde in Faslane, will be with the ship for six months before rotating with another crew from the UK.

The ship will be based in Bahrain for a number of years and is one of four based based in the area to provide maritime security and be ready to protect shipping routes in the Gulf if called upon.