SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity’s flagship event, the 13 Bridges Challenge, happening on Armed Forces Day (29 June), sees participants walk past iconic London sights including Tower Bridge and London Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Palace, Shakespear’s Globe theatre, and many more, on the 10 mile walk which criss-crosses the beautiful river Thames.
The event is sponsored by engineering experts, Allan Webb, who are also holders of a coveted Armed Forces Covenant Gold Award for their support to the British Armed Forces and veterans, based in Gloucestershire.
Hannah Siddle, Senior Challenge Events Officer, said:
“We couldn’t run this event without the support of our corporate sponsors. Allan Webb has enabled us to deliver an even bigger and better 13 Bridges Challenge this year than last, allowing us to raise much-needed funds in 2024.”
The 13 Bridges Challenge is open to all ages and abilities, and the route is entirely wheelchair accessible. The walk is fully guided, with SSAFA team-leaders looking after participants every step of the way.
Andy Lloyd, Managing Director of Allan Webb Ltd, said:
“As a company we recognise the significant contribution and sacrifice that serving members of the Armed Forces and veterans have made, and importantly, the support that both they and their families may require because of this. We have always admired the work that SSAFA-funded services support.”
Allan Webb will also be entering two walking teams into the event, raising even more vital funds for SSAFA. The company employs a large number of veterans and understands the valuable contribution service leavers make to their industry.
“Attendance at the event has doubled over the last two years. This year we are aiming to have a thousand walkers take the challenge. In 2023 we raised £95,000 but this year we are appealing for even more of our supporters to join in and help us get the total to over £100,000 in 2024.”
The funds raised by SSAFA are vital to assist serving personnel and their families in their hour of need. Pete Forbes, from Leeds, served in the British Army for 14 years. When his wife died in Germany, Pete turned to SSAFA to help he and his daughter.
“They [SSAFA] were absolutely brilliant, helping me to bring my wife’s ashes from Germany over to the UK so that she could be laid to rest in Winchester.”
“I don’t think I would have been able to get my daughter flown over from Germany for the laying to rest of the ashes if it hadn’t been for the help from SSAFA. One of the volunteers came round to pay a personal visit. They were absolutely amazing, so, so helpful, so supportive, so kind and generous. They just couldn’t do enough.”
Pete is now a super-fundraiser for SSAFA and walks the 13 Bridges dressed in purple. He is fondly known as Purple Pete and has raised thousands for the charity which helped him in his time of need.
If you would like to walk alongside Pete to thank the Armed Forces and enjoy a great day out in London sign up at: https://www.ssafa.org.uk/support-us/challenge-events/trek/13-bridges-challenge-2024