THE father of tragic Mansfield Woodhouse soldier Ashley Clarkson described a charity walk in his memory as ‘very emotional’.
Wayne Clarkson was joined by around 100 family and friends for the trek from Crich War Memorial on Sunday morning to Mansfield’s War Memorial at Carr Bank Park.
Initially thought to be a foot-numbing 16 miles, it turned out to be over 18 but there were few complaints from the participants.
Speaking just after finishing, Wayne said: “I’m drained and very emotional because it was a long day, but a fantastic one. There were a few blisters but nobody complained and everyone walked at their own pace.
“It was good to finish but it’s worth it and raising awareness for Ashley is what it’s all about.
“The day worked out better than we expected, but there’s a lot of people to thank.”
Indeed many of the walkers were transported from Mansfield to the starting point by free buses put on by Glenn Ryder coaches while water was supplied by Buxton Water.
Dressed in either British Legion or specially-made Ashley t-shirts, the group set off shortly after 8am on Sunday and reached the half-way point almost an hour ahead of schedule.
After free food was supplied by The Station pub at Westhouses, they set off again for Carr Bank Park, reaching their destination after 4pm.
A standard bearer for the Royal British Legion raised the flag at the war memorial and a few moments’ silence were observed, before a celebratory barbecue was had at the nearby Mansfield Manor Hotel.
Months in the making, the walk was to raise awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, after 23-year-old Ashley had been diagnosed with the condition in 2009.
He was in the Royal Logistics Corps and had served in Iraq.
He was found hanged at home in March of this year.