The Falklands might be a long way away but the islands have been the venue for a gruelling event that’s helped raise money for Cornwall Hospice Care. Eight RAF Engineers chose as part of their adventure training, to march with full kit the 37 miles from Mount Pleasant Airfield to Port Stanley and one of them had Cornwall very much at heart.

The eight are all members of Support Engineering Flight, part of the Forward Support Squadron RAF. It’s their job to care for all the equipment needed to ensure the smooth running of the airfield and the military planes using it. One of the team was Corporal Matt Jameson who originally came from St Buryan and whose Mum now lives at Angarrack near Hayle. He now lives near RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and he says when the team decided to use their march to raise funds for charity, Cornwall Hospice Care was an obvious choice;

“My Step-Father Big Jeff Robinson was cared for at St Julia’s Hospice. The team there did a wonderful job looking after him and making him comfortable in his last days, and they looked after my Mum too. The care he received in St Julia's was second to none, a beautiful calm place where nothing is too much trouble for the staff. I always said I would do something for the charity but I didn’t realise I would travel eight and a half thousand miles to do it! We called it the March to Victory because the plan was to finish the walk at the Victory Bar in Port Stanley.”  

Leading the team, Sergeant Pete Westwood who chose to raise funds for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in North Staffordshire where his Mum Eve was cared for.

The march happened on Friday 27 November and as Matt reported afterwards, it was a big success;

“The march was arguably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, both physically and mentally. I hit the big metaphorical wall quite early as well which didn’t help, however once we stopped for lunch I was all good. Our total walking time was just over 8 ½ hours which is a phenomenal effort. That didn’t include water breaks.”

“I think everyone was broken in some way or another. The bottoms of my feet were very tender and I had one blister on my toe. So I think I did ok, some lads were in bits and in a bad way by the end and still suffering today. It was funny in the evening watching us all trying to get to the pub.”

“I did well for donations. I think I ended up with about £735 in the end. My Mum, Pauline Robinson, held a coffee morning at her work at Hannover court in Penzance and raised £140 in one day for me, which was amazing. I had no intention of raising that much money but people have been really generous.”

The team still have a fundraising page open and you can show your support by visiting www.justgiving.com/teams/marchtovictory

Tamsin Thomas, Head of PR and Fundraising at Cornwall Hospice Care happened to be in the Falklands recently and was able to meet Matt and present him with a special t-shirt and a homemade Cornish Heavy (Hevva) Cake;

“It was pure coincidence that I was about to visit the Falklands when we heard about Matt and the team and their amazing challenge. It was brilliant to be able to visit him at the air base at Mount Pleasant and thank him face to face for his support. Sadly they did the march on the day I flew home but at least I knew Matt was wearing a Cornwall Hospice Care shirt and was fuelled up by proper cake! Friends like Matt are vital to us as they help bring in the funds we need to ensure we can continue to provide specialist palliative care to people in Cornwall.”

“Many congratulations to Matt and to the rest of the team. They marched carrying their full kit that weighs 15 kilograms, I couldn’t have lifted that amount, let alone moved forward.”