Veterans Lifeline


Annual Veterans Lifeline March


During 2016, having heard about the sterling work Veterans Lifeline was doing in supporting struggling veterans and their families, I decided to undertake arranging a sponsored walk in France in 2017. Based upon previous charitable visits to the battlefields of Europe I envisaged a handful of likeminded souls hiking across various battlefields and paying respects to the sacrifices made during WW1 and WW2, all whilst raising much needed funds for Veterans Lifeline. My idea was to ensure event costs would be kept to a minimum and that the maximum amount of funds raised would be realised by the charity. With this in mind it was decided that the team would be self sufficient, walking each day supported by an Admin team, sleeping under canvas and preparing its own rations etc. From the idea of having a handful of people, the first event took place in Normandy in 2017 and was a huge success; the team completed 150 miles in 5 days as a group of 17. This then set the benchmark for what would become annual Veterans Lifeline March. In 2018 the team commemorated the centenary of the end of WW1 by walking 100km through France and Flanders, and was honoured to be allowed to lay a remembrance wreath at the ceremony of the Last Post at the Menin Gate, in Ypres. This year, being the third annual Veterans Lifeline March, the team walked across the battlefields of Holland to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, the “Bridge Too Far”.


The three events have raised around £45,000 for the charity and brought together serving personnel, veterans, and civilians alike. All thrown together for a common cause, many fighting their own personal battles, both mentally and physically. These events have enabled ongoing mutual support for its needing participants , lifelong friendships have been  made, and in some cases some life saving focus and distraction from the sometime chaotic, uncertainty of modern life. I speak as a living and breathing recipient of the positive effect Veterans Lifeline has upon those in its care and a witness of the amazing impact these events has had upon those who have taken part. Being part of the annual March has certainly played a huge role in my recovery from mental health illness.


Next year the event will be centred up the 80th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation. I personally cannot wait.


Merv Albon