Abingdon ‘Welfare Wanderers’ take part in training trek for walk100

12 March 2014 15:45

A team of Army and civilian members aim to tackle Blind Veterans UK's 100k London to Brighton walk in 21 hours this Summer.

A team of walkers from Abingdon who have named themselves the 'Welfare Wanderers' are stepping out for their first joint training session today in preparation in preparation for their challenging 100k trek in aid of Blind Veterans UK this Summer. 

The Welfare Wanderers will be taking part in our biggest fundraising event of the year, a 100k walk from London to Brighton on 21 June 2014, aiming to complete it within 21 hours.

The team includes Army and civilian members: Staff Sergeant Marie Gorstridge, Private Ste Reeves and Private Ryan Fennell (based at 4 Logistic Support Regiment Welfare Office, Dalton Barracks, Abingdon); Lance Corporal Chloe Dixon (3 Logistic Support Regiment) and Gillian Anderson (Skydive Wild Geese Academy Manager based in Coleraine, Northern Ireland).

The team also includes Marie's dog Jeannie who will be joining the team on their first joint training walk on Wednesday in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

Staff Sergeant Marie Gorstridge, who is leading the team, says: "I'm coming to the end of my time in the Army and wanted to complete a meaningful challenge. I heard about the work of Blind Veterans UK and it struck a chord. Not being able to see the everyday things we take for granted, like a sunset or a baby's smile, must be incredibly hard."

Team member Gillian Anderson says: "My real motivation to complete this walk and raise as much money as I can for Blind Veterans UK came the other week when I stood at the Giant's Causeway watching the spectacular aurora. That's when I appreciated how fortunate we are to have our sight.

"I'm really excited about our first training session altogether as a team - we'll be putting all our personal training to the test and aiming to cover 25km around the Abingdon area in three and a half hours on Wednesday.  I'm writing a blog to support the team's training and help us meet our fundraising target of £1,500."

The group is planning to complete the entire 100k as a team and support each other through the challenge. Places for the 100k, which will kick off in Putney on Saturday 21st June and concludes on Sunday 22nd June, are currently available, with a registration fee of £99 per participant or £120 for a two or four-man relay team.

The all inclusive entrance fee for participants includes hot food at three rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the route, support from first aiders en route and a free event t-shirt.

The event is Blind Veterans UK's biggest annual fundraiser and takes walkers from a starting point in south London, along the banks of the Thames, through countryside paths in Surrey, Sussex and the North and South Downs to the charity's centre for blind veterans in Ovingdean, Brighton.

To sponsor the team, visit their Just Giving page. For more information about the 100k hike and about Blind Veterans UK's work, read our blog. You can sign up at

You can read Gillian Anderson's training blog online.