Teacher gearing up for war trek

NMAC11-0189-1'Tim Priestly who is doing a sponsored walk for Help for Heroes.
NMAC11-0189-1'Tim Priestly who is doing a sponsored walk for Help for Heroes.

AN intrepid Warsop teacher is preparing to follow in the footsteps of fallen war heroes by taking part in a 50-mile charity walk through France this summer.

Tim Priestley and friends will be walking from the Arras memorial to the Thiepval memorials in Northern France to commemorate the 107,000 men killed in First World War, who have no known grave, in just three days in July.

The Birklands Primary School teacher, along with his friends, Will Grimshaw, Dan Robertson, John Kitchen and Michael Credland decided to take on the trek to raise money for Help for Heroes - which helps wounded servicemen and women.

This week, Tim (38), who lives in Mansfield Woodhouse, said he is looking forward to the challenge and wants to raise as much money as possible for the war charity.

“We’re really looking forward to the walk and I cannot wait to get there,” he said.

“There are more than 100,000 soldiers who have no known grave, no final resting place, so we are walking in memory of them and to raise funds for Help for Heroes as it is very well known and worthwhile cause.”

The walk will also honour fallen soldiers from the former Sherwood Forest regiment, which involved many men from the Mansfield area, who were also killed in battle on the opening day of the Somme Battle on 1st July, 1916.

“We’ll also be walking through the Somme to remember soldiers from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands who also lost their lives,” added Tim, who has been a keen historian from his childhood.

“I first became interested during the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in 1986 and it continued from there.

“Despite the devastation (in Northern France), it is one of my favourite areas, it is very peaceful and I could easily live there.

“We think the walk will be quite a challenge for the five of us, with four of us walking and one driving but we are going to arrange some weekend walks in preparation but I’m sure it will be a great experience for us.

“The walk is not until July and it is early days in terms of sponsorship but were are hoping to raise a figure in the region of four figures and would like as many people as possible to contribute.”

Such is Tim’s interest in history, he penned a book, Distant Deeds, which centres on men commemorated on Warsop and Warsop Vale war memorials who served in World War One.

The book includes these men together with more than 200 individuals who volunteered and survived the war.

There is also a section for men who received gallantry awards, including two Victoria Cross winners.

“I found out a lot from writing the book and also realised that some of my relatives had fought in the war,” he added.

l To make a donation to Tim’s trek, which takes place from 29th to 31st July, visit www.bmycharity.com/memorialswalk or contact Tim on Mansfield 651786.

If you give Gift Aid consent the charity will receive an extra 28 per cent at no cost to you.