Arthur’s walk for heroes
A 15-year-old army cadet and Rugby player will be walking 150 miles this summer to raise money and visit his grandparents for the first time in a year
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Bilton School student Arthur Mortimer will be walking 150 miles from Old Laurentians RFC to the Rugby Club in Llanhilleth, Wales, to raise money for Help for Heroes.
The 15-year-old and his Dad, Kevin, will be leaving from the OLs on 14th August. The pair are aiming to walk 20 miles a day to reach Llanhilleth in a week.
Arthur said: “I like how Help for Heroes help our veterans who help protect our country. They need help, mentally and physically, to recover from PTSD and other injuries caused from the wars they’ve been in.”
As an army cadet Arthur said he enjoys learning new skills and having the opportunity to visit new places and make new friends.
Arthur’s inspiration, his Dad told us, was Captain Tom with his walk around his house to raise money for the NHS.
“He asked his Mum if he could walk to Wales and she obviously said ‘no’. But he asked again and his Mum agreed, only if an adult went with him. It’ll be a bit of a bonding exercise!” Kevin added.
The end point is Llanhilleth, the village where Arthur’s grandparents live. The family hasn’t been able to meet up in person since the pandemic hit.
Arthur said: “I’ll love to see them again and I’ll be really happy. It’ll be nice.”
Great support from South Rugby
Both Arthur and Kevin belong to Old Laurentians RFC and said the support from the club has been fantastic.
Kevin said: “We’ve managed to reach our first targets of £500, then £1000 through justgiving. And a lot of people have promised cash when we get back. We’re probably up to about £1,500 in total. We’ve also had sponsorship from Cotton’s accountants, and Monarch Carpets gave us some money. Gallacher’s wine bar is doing a fundraising night in September for us. Hopefully we will get up to £2,000 when we start the walk.”
Starting out at Old Laurentians RFC in Bilton, the father-and-son duo will walk out towards Thurlaston and Draycote Water on the way to Stratford. Then Evesham, Tewkesbury and Monmouth are on the cards.
Kevin said: “We’re going to try and use as many bridleways and walkways as possible, rather than using the main road.”
They’ll be staying with family, in hotels and B&Bs along the way.
“The difficult part is when we start to enter Wales there won’t be as many hotels and B&Bs so we might have to camp. I’d love it,” Arthur said.
“We’ll have our bags and carry the essentials like spare clothes and waterproofs. We’ll carry some food, sugary sweets for energy, some lunch and we can get food dropped off by my Mum. Or if we’ll find a bar, restaurant or pub for some food.”
Training was going well, said Arthur, until a skateboard stunt and a strained lateral ligament put the work on hold.
Kevin said: “Thankfully it was just a strain not a break. Before that we were doing really well with 15 miles when we went out for a walk. We need to increase our distances now.”
There’ll also be a Duke of Edinburgh Bronze expedition for Arthur at the end of the school term.
Dad Kevin added that their training has let them discover new walking routes around Rugby.
“You don’t realise what’s around here,” he said. “We’ve lived here for 15 years. Just walking behind Cawston Woods, there are loads of fantastic walks and the scenery is great. Around Draycote Water is good too, with the alpacas and birds. Anywhere off the beaten track is brilliant, but Cawston Woods are a really nice starting point.”
Find out more or donate: justgiving.com/fundraising/Arthurs-walk
Arthur will be playing in the under-16s at OLRFC next season. Kevin looks after the club’s website and hopes to return to playing one day.