Family's run set to honour war medics

September 03 2018
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A FAMILY from Longwell Green will be tackling the Bristol half marathon to commemorate the sacrifice of medics and nurses during the First World War.

They will be dressed in authentic period costume and will carry stretchers and medical equipment from the era.

The team all have connections with either the services and/or the health service. Heading up the team is George Harrill, a serving officer in the British Army, who will be joined by wife Dawn, a former army nurse, and their daughter Becci, a teacher and an RAF cadet adult instructor.

Last, but not least, will be close family friend Carol Gill, also a former army nurse who now works for the NHS and lives in Westbury.

The team will be running in support of the Royal British Legion's  WW1 Poppy Centenary Appeal.

As well as honouring those who cared for others during the war, the team's efforts will commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

It will be a particularly poignant event for them, as they remember members of their own families who had served in the forces.

These include George's great grandfather, private Claude Taylor, a Royal Army Medical Corps' stretcher bearer at Gallipoli, the Somme and Ypres who was awarded the Military Medal for his gallantry.

Also on their minds will be Dawn's father, retired warrant officer Bob Riglar, who died in February this year. 

They will also remember Carol's mum, Janet Armstrong, who served as a WAFF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) and died in November 2017. Both Bob and Janet were lifelong fundraisers for the Royal British Legion.

George said: "We raise money for the Poppy Appeal every year so I thought why don't we do something a bit different this year. Everyone was watching television and I mentioned to them about running the half marathon in First World War uniform. They all said it was a fantastic idea!"

As George is a serving officer, he used his contacts to get hold of some of the uniforms and equipment but scoured auction sites on the internet to pick up some of the older pieces.

"It's taken about two months to get everything together but we now have all the uniforms, all the medical kit and a even a stretcher."

George, who is in the same regiment as his great grandfather served in, said training isn't too much of an issue because everyone is pretty fit anyway.

"My wife and I used to do lots of half marathons and now we do a lot of long distance cycling, which seems to keep us keep fit. My daughter does a lot of training and marching with the cadets and Carol does a lot of walking. Between the four of us, we ought to be able to manage it.

"As a serving soldier, I've dealt with casualties and families from the Afghanistan war so the Poppy Appeal is important to me. When we lost Bob, I felt it was important to do something a bit different this year in order to honour him.

"Although I'm an officer, I'm going to be wearing a private's uniform on the day because of my great grandfather who was a private officer in the First World War.

"There's a big family connection so we will be mourning the loss of loved ones as well as commemorating them by carrying on their good work."

The team hopes to raise £725 by completing the half marathon, which takes place on Sunday September 23, and have set up a Just Giving page to help them reach their target. 

 

You can donate to their cause by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/george-harrill