Captain Tom inspires Navy’s Caribbean task force Remembrance fundraiser

Sailors, soldiers and Royal Marines on the UK’s Caribbean flagship raised more than £4,500 for the Poppy Appeal with an 11-hour sporting challenge inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Military personnel aboard RFA Argus toiled through the night from midnight until 11am on Remembrance Sunday before freshening up and forming up on the flight deck for the annual service of commemoration.

“The idea came when we were talking about Captain Sir Tom; I loved how he had walked to raise money for the NHS Charities which is such a brilliant and simple idea that everyone can do,” said nursing officer Lieutenant Emily Harding, Argus’ Hospital Officer.

“We wanted to do something similar for veterans and with a theme linked to Remembrance so we came up with the idea of doing an 11-hour challenge.

“It ended up being much more physically and mentally taxing than I thought, but we all dug deep and it was great to finish 11 hours.”

Personnel chose to run, cycle and row 11 km, some doing so multiple times. Some completed 1,111 burpee squat thrusts. A group from 845 Naval Air Squadron and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines chose to deadlift the weight of 11 Merlin helicopters and run a mile every hour. Another team chose the number 453 to mark – the number of British fatalities in Afghanistan – by completing 453 repeats of 11 exercises for 11 hours. And others chose to run or walk around the flight deck for stints or for the full 11 hours.

We wanted to do something similar for veterans and with a theme linked to Remembrance so we came up with the idea of doing an 11-hour challenge. It ended up being much more physically and mentally taxing than I thought, but we all dug deep and it was great to finish 11 hours.

Lieutenant Emily Harding

Staff Sergeant Dylan Jones from 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers completed an ultra-marathon run of 59 miles; his efforts alone raised £1,400 for the Royal British Legion.

And Chief Officer Jane Struthers is in charge of the logistics services department and took part in the event, walking and running an impressive 41 miles over 11 hours.

“I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for! It was an amazing effort from all who took part and they inspired me to keep going. It’s a small effort to raise money for those in need and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” she said.

Falmouth-based Argus is deployed to the Caribbean with Merlin and Wildcat helicopters, plus a specialist team of soldiers and Royal Marines to provide humanitarian assistance to Caribbean communities affected by autumn storms.

She works hand-in-hand with new patrol ship HMS Medway, stationed long-term in the region as well as the US Coast Guard to stop drug-trafficking.