Runs to Remember raise hundreds towards new memorial

FORMER servicemen helped raise more than £1,000 towards an extension to Stalybridge’s war memorial with their Run to Remember.

Headed by Liam Simpson, who lives on Lake View, a group got up early in the morning and pounded the pavements in a series of 11km jogs to the nine monuments in Tameside.

For number 10, they recreate the Marshall’s Walk, which saw a mother attempt to get her three sons that were killed in action recognised in Stalybridge.

Liam Simpson helped to organise the fundraising event

And number 11 – on November 11 – saw a slightly larger group return to Stalybridge and lay wreaths in memory of Fred, Harry and George Marshall, of Carrbrook.

The end result was hundreds of pounds in the coffers of the Friends of Stalybridge War Memorial group.

Liam, who served in the Cheshire Regiment, said: “We lost quite a lot of lads when we did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan over the years.

“I left the military in 2013 and over the last couple of years, I’ve really started to realise what being in it meant to me.

“So in 2019, we did a run in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, and got the community there involved. We met on the Edge and it went down really well.

“But being in Stalybridge, it seemed a bit strange to do it in Alderley Edge. Last year, we were in lockdown. We did it but it wasn’t a great deal, we just ran around Stalybridge.

“So this year, one of my best mates – who still serves with the Paras – was stationed in Afghanistan. We met him to welcome him home and I thought, ‘We need to put a bit more effort in this year. We’ll do it but make it a charity event.’”

The first run to Mossley carried special significance for Liam as he dedicated it in honour of James Dwyer, a friend he lost in 2016.

He wrote him a letter while serving in Afghanistan, which did not arrive until the day after he was killed in action.

And over the 11 runs, the 34-year-old was joined by Peter Millns and Colour Sergeant Richard Kershaw, as well as other keen runners, laying wreaths at the end of each journey in memory of fallen comrades, some of whom he knew.

The final one held significance for Richard as it was in honour of the man he called ‘my fallen brother,’ Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton.

“I served in Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Iraq,” added Liam, who reached the rank of Sergeant.

“If you look back at the tours the Cheshire and Mercian Regiments had in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was absolutely brutal.

“Especially in 2010, we lost 11 people from one company. It was heartbreaking. Corporal Harvey Homes, who has a road named after him in Hyde, was a good friend. Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze was also in our battalion and a good friend. We definitely felt it over the years.”

DONATE: https://www.gofundme.com/f/stalybridge-war-memorial-extension-appeal

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