TWO friends due to finish a 75-mile walk along the First World War’s Western Front to raise cash for ex-services personnel this week have decided to continue their fundraising by setting up a charitable trust.
Andrew Charlton and Paul Stephenson set off from Ypres in Belgium last Thursday and were due to arrive at Albert in France on Tuesday, following in the footsteps of the Tyneside Scottish Regiment, as well as visiting other battlefields contested between 1914 and 1918.
Andrew, a web designer in Cramlington, and Paul, a photographer in Bedlington, have already raised around £5,000 for the Veteran’s Retreat, a charity looking to set up a care centre for former forces personnel near Whittonstall in Northumberland.
They now want to raise a further £1,000 to make a DVD to be distributed to north east schools to help youngsters learn about the First World War.
They are also setting up a new charity to offer support to veterans and their dependants.
It would provide small grants or loans or help to arrange sponsorship or work placements for veterans looking to set up enterprises in the region.
Andrew and Paul also plan to do further walks in the future.
Andrew said: “We’re doing this for three reasons – to raise much-needed funds for ex-servicemen and women, to pass on our experiences to today’s schoolchildren so that they too can learn from the horror of the First World War and to thank my great-grandad and the thousands of other ordinary people who fought in the Great War.”
For more information, visit www.walkingthefront.com or follow the pair on Twitter @walkingthefront