Kent's Gurkhas Run Length of Country for the William Harvey Hospital

A team of Gurkha soldiers from Kent are running the distance of Land’s End to John o’ Groats to raise money for their local hospital trust.

C (Mogaung) Company of Folkestone-based First Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles plan are running 1956km (or 815 laps of their camp!) to raise £3000 for the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford. Many of the soldiers’ wives, nearly 50% are nurses and ‘key workers’ at the hospital and are currently working to help fight coronavirus.

The event has been planned by Sergeant Indra Gurung and Corporal Naresh Rai (whose wife works as a nurse at the hospital), and began on 11 May 2020. Soldiers take it in turns to run laps 24/7 until they have completed the distance, representing the ‘round the clock’ care which their wives and NHS staff provide.

1 RGR are part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s airborne rapid reaction force, which is held at Very High Readiness in order to be able to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice. Fitness is an important part of their training and since the introduction of social distancing guidelines, the Battalion have been coming up with more novel approaches.

Sgt Indra Gurung said: “We have witnessed our NHS Staff providing 24/7 comprehensive care while putting themselves at higher risk of developing the virus and would like to express our huge thank you to all the NHS staff throughout the nation. They are fantastic, and are working selflessly throughout the pandemic to keep us safe.

We know how hard it is, both physically and mentally, for people to cope with this situation, and we have been motivated by this hardship to run the equivalent length of the UK from Land’s End to John O’ Groats in support of this amazing hard work.”

Corporal Naresh Rai said: “We chose to raise money for the William Harvey Hospital Trust because it is our local hospital; normally we end up there for general appointments or emergencies but where we go for any emergencies and general appointments, but in this time of national crisis, we would like to provide some extra support for them. Our aim is to raise as much money as possible for our local NHS Trust to show our appreciation for their outstanding work during this pandemic.”

East Kent Hospitals’ Chief Operating Officer, Lee Martin said: ‘We are delighted to have the support of our local Royal Gurkha Rifles Regiment in raising funds for East Kent Hospitals Charity’s Helping Your Hospitals Appeal. The funds raised will be used to provide additional support for staff wellbeing at the William Harvey Hospital, during the coronavirus outbreak. Our communities have been wonderfully supportive of our local hospitals, and we wish the regiment the very best of luck in their fundraising challenge.

Donations can be made at https://justgiving.com/fundraising/naresh-rai