TEENAGER Tom Harper can stand proud after walking 20 miles for the Help for Heroes charity.
The 16-year-old Manor School student organised the event single-handedly and has made his parents proud.
“He is one hell of an amazing boy,” said his mum Diane. “He came up with the idea himself and sorted the route, sponsorship and everything.
“He has wanted to join the Army since he was four. I remember him telling his nursery teacher he was going to fight for his Queen and country all those years ago. He is now well on his way to making his dream a reality.”
Tom began his challenge in Beighton near Sheffield, trekking through Killamarsh, Clowne, Creswell, Cuckney and Warsop before reaching the finishing line at his Middleton Road home in Mansfield Woodhouse.
He received motivation along the way from his cousin James Scott who joined him for part of the challenge and his dad Richard, who ensured his road safety.
Tom’s inspiration for the walk came from watching the news of the fighting in Afghanistan and hearing of the soldiers injured and from knowing somebody currently serving in the conflict.
“I wanted to do something to help the charity as I know it is a worthwhile cause,” explained Tom. “I came up with the idea in January as I was looking for a new year challenge and thought this would push me.”
Tom also linked the training for the challenge with his fitness programme linked to his Army application.
“I was going to the gym three times a week and walking four days a week in preparation for the event.
“It was a great day and I really enjoyed the walk, although my legs did start to ache three quarters of the way through. I also suffered a few blisters but it was all worthwhile.”
Tom’s original target of £200 was surpassed and his total raised for the charity, which was set up in 2007 to help injured servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, is £600.
“I’m delighted with the result and it feels great doing something worthwhile and challenging for those who have been injured fighting for our country.”