The Yompathon


What is it?

The Yompathon is the brainchild of James Mazzoni-Dalton (MD) and is a 3863 mile march across the United Kingdom visiting over two hundred Military and emergency service establishments. It is being undertaken by seven former and serving British Service personnel from across the seven branches of the services (Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army, Royal Air Force, Police, Fire and Rescue and Emergency Ambulance Service) to raise money and awareness for mentally wounded front line service personnel suffering from Mental Health issues. They started their challenge on 1st October 2022.

After 40 days, the rompers completed their 3863 mile journey in Hampshire, having crossed the length and breadth of the UK. Below are just a selection of the photos and videos taken during the event which provide some detail on the motivations, challenges and achievement of all those who took part and all those who helped support the team and enable them to complete this remarkable feat of endurance.

Along the way

Riah Bunce from FirstLight Trust’s Gosport hub took some of the veterans that attend the hub to welcome the group back in. Closely involved in the whole event, Riah has shared some great insights from this remarkable walk and fundraising challenge.

Amid some of the darker times, both literal and metaphorical, there were some heartwarming and amusing moments, such as when they were walking through a Welsh field at 2am in the morning when their comm vehicle got stuck. But as luck had it a farmer and his wife just so happened to be tending to their sheep in the middle of the night in the field opposite. They duly got their tractors and helped pull them out of the mud. MD, whilst laughing, stated it was the most bizarre and unreal event that will stick in his memory.

Another middle of the night episode involved a hornet the size of golf ball, attracted by the lights, coming into the comms vehicle while they were supporting the late-night walkers. The group were laughing at how it took them 45 minutes to get the hornet out of the vehicle – of course the hornet size changing with the story…

Whilst the love and support from family definitely helped these amazing men through the challenge, the hardest part for many was being away from family for such a long period and even a new birth in the family was missed. Riah was there at the finish line to see Allan reunited with his wife Jackie. It was the longest time she had been away from her husband and couldn’t wait to give him a hug.  Jackie was also pleased that Allan, now back, could now fix her car.

Every day for 40 days, in all weathers, they walked and their feet took a pounding. MD stated he would do it all again for such a great course and the opportunity to talk to others about how important it is to look after our own mental help and the importance of talking to others when you need help. The team had their worst and best days on the 40 day and night walk but above all else they did it together.

Alan & Adam

Carl’s story

Into Scotland and met by Dorinda Wolfe Murray, FirstLight Trust’s CEO.

Zac’s story

Damon’s story

Passing through Hereford and met by Sian at the Hereford Cafe hub.