Centenary walk through Steyning

From left to right: Mike Hirons, Jack Cash and Ian Bell with their Mr Jim Shannon, MP for Strangford in Northern Ireland SUS-150408-165130001
From left to right: Mike Hirons, Jack Cash and Ian Bell with their Mr Jim Shannon, MP for Strangford in Northern Ireland SUS-150408-165130001

On Saturday August 8, three ex-servicemen will be walking from Steyning to Seaford as part of the Tower to Tower WW1 Centenary Walk .

Mike Hirons, Jack Cash and Ian Bell are taking on the fundraiser in memory of the 36th Ulster Division on the 100th anniversary of their departure from Helens Tower, Clandeboye Estate Training Camp, Bangor, Northern Ireland to the French Battlefields and the Somme .

The 375-mile walkstarted at Helens Tower, Northern Ireland on Friday July 31, 2015, and it is anticipated the walk will take 12 days to complete.

Speaking on Tuesday August 4 while walking in the Cotswolds, Mike Hirons said: “Walking over 12 days is quite considerable but we’re doing well.

“I’m really looking forward to coming to Steyning, we all are, because of the links around that area as there were a lot of things going on around WW1 over that period 100 years ago.

“And we know how beautiful it is too.”

The ex-servicemen will arrive in Steyning between 5pm and 6pm depending on traffic where they will walk into the town centre and finish there. They also hope to leave the following morning from Steyning around 7.30am.

During their visit to Sussex, the team - who also have a support vehicle in attendance - will be spending a night at the New Sussex Hotel in Lancing following sponsorship.

On day nine they will eventually arrive in Seaford where the division were based in England prior to departing for the French battlefields in November 1915.

It will finish at the Ulster Tower, Thiepval, Northern France which is a replica of Helens Tower where the division trained in Northern Ireland and was built after the war from funds donated by the soldier’s families.

The objective behind the walk is to raise funds to build a memorial at Conway Square in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, in memory of 36th Ulster Division and all the Irish Divisions who left Ireland’s shores in 1915 to take part in the Great War.

Jack, Mike and Ian, who are from Newtownards in Northern Ireland, all had either grandfathers or great uncles who served in the trenches of WW1 and either served in the 36th Ulster Division or 29th Division - one of which was highly decorated for ‘Bravery in the Field’ and awarded the Military Medal.

Another had a grandfather and four brothers who all served in WW1 and their mother received a letter from the King thanking her for her patriotism and the courage of her five sons.

To sponsor the team visit www.youcaring.com/towertotowerwalk