Soldiers take on charity challenge

Warrant Officer (Unit Sergeant Major) Danny O'Donnell (left) and Lance Corporal Jay Wilcock (right).
Warrant Officer (Unit Sergeant Major) Danny O'Donnell (left) and Lance Corporal Jay Wilcock (right).

TWO soldiers from Morecambe currently based in the Falklands, are to complete a simulated version of the SSAFA 500 cycle ride and climb to raise money for leading charity SSAFA Forces Help.

Warrant Officer (Unit Sergeant Major) Danny O’Donnell (38) of the Royal Logistic Corps and Lance Corporal Jay Wilcock (20) of the Royal Corps of Signals, both of whom attended Morecambe High School, are two of a team of 10 soldiers who will take on the gruelling challenge.

The SSAFA 500 is a 500-mile bike ride from Edinburgh to London.

However, due to their deployment in the Falklands, the 10-strong Army team will carry out a simulated version in the gym at Mount Pleasant Complex.

They have set themselves a target of a simulated 1,217-mile (1,959km) bike ride and 3,406m (2.13 miles) climb which covers the distance from Edinburgh to London with the three peaks challenge incorporated. This is to be completed within 10 hours.

Danny said: “This is going to be an extremely hard challenge for me and my soldiers so I had to ensure I picked the fittest in the unit.”

Impressively, Danny won a 40-mile ultramarathon challenge in the Falklands earlier this year, but he said: “This is a different type of fitness from running an ultra-marathon but we are all up for the challenge.”

The build-up to the challenge started with an assessment to pick out the top 10 people best suited to complete it within the 10 hours.

This included early morning cardiovascular runs and plenty of sprint and endurance bike stamina sessions, not to mention hour upon hour on the stepper machine.

Jay said: “The assessment and build-up to this was epic in itself and everyone has worked really hard.

“I am chuffed I made the top 10 of the fittest in the unit, now it’s all about hitting the goal of completing this within 10 hours, which will be taken to another level entirely.”

The challenge is due to take place on September 1.

Danny and Jay are both due to leave the Falklands in mid-September after a six month tour.

Supporters can donate via Jay Wilcock’s Just giving webpage.

SSAFA Forces Help is one of Britain’s leading Forces charities.