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Paratrooper Garry's Armed Forces Day Challenge

Former paratrooper takes on Armed Forces Day Challenge

A Denholm-based army veteran is on a mission to help those who served in the armed forces and emergency services get back on their feet by raising £2,000 in a gruelling 15 mile run. Garry Booth is being helped to recover from his frontline experiences by the charity FirstLight Trust who run a support hub in Hawick for veterans.

“I want to conquer the three peaks of the Eildon Hills on Saturday 29 June, Armed Forces Day,” Garry explains. “I’ll be carrying an 80lb pack across 15 miles of uneven terrain. I won’t be training for the event or researching the route. This replicates how it would be on operations where you can’t predict what’s going to happen.”

Garry served in the military for 23 years in the regular army and reserves. He was posted on operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Falklands. He now works for a local scaffolding company, while still serving with 4 Paras, a Territorial Army unit based in Edinburgh.

“Garry is one of around 30 local veterans we see regularly at our FirstLight Trust hub in Hawick,” explains the charity’s Scottish Regional Coordinator David Murray. “Many have adjustment issues as they have known nothing other than the military as adults.

“We are so proud of Garry for arranging this challenge. We hope people will support his efforts. He’s not just raising funds but also in raising awareness of the issues facing veterans here in the Borders and further afield.”

The Hawick hub was the charity’s first Scottish hub, opening in July 2018. It includes a coffee bar area to give veterans a place to relax, have a chat or get some support in an informal environment. It is also open to the public who can enjoy home-made cakes and hot drinks and treats. There are five more in England, and the charity hope to open more hubs in Scotland.

“I want to raise as much money as I can for FirstLight Trust who have been so supportive in the last few months.” Garry says. “After the hardships of army life, the rolling Eildon Hills will hopefully be like a walk in the park!”

Donations can be made to Garry’s fundraising campaign in person at the FirstLight Trust at 1-3 High Street, Hawick, at the Borders Pharmacy in Burnfoot or online at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/garry-booth