Former soldier fights for injured veterans with walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End
23 June, 2017
OWEN Murray served in Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland for the British army but is now on a tour of his own: from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
Mr Murray, 35, was three days into his 874-mile journey when he caught up with the New Journal after setting off from the barren northern reaches of Scotland.
The former St Joseph’s and St Aloysius College schoolboy, who grew up in Bloomsbury, is raising funds for Blesma, a charity that supports limbless veterans, and the British Red Cross.
He said: “I was in the army for five years and there were a couple of people I knew who have died, or were seriously injured. I just wanted to raise some money for them. I did a couple of tours – I was in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Kosovo. The Blesma charity raises money for limbs for ex-service personal who have life-changing injuries. They specialise in that, and they are one of the oldest military charities around. They were around during the First World War. – them and the British Red Cross. Obviously, there is loads of other stuff that the Red Cross do.”
He added: ““I grew up in Russell Square. I was born in UCH. Lived there until 21 and I joined the army. It was something I had always wanted to do. It was good for me, it taught me a lot of good stuff.”
Mr Murray said returning soldiers who need prosthetic limbs are “looked after pretty well” and that their struggles are “often in the public eye”. He added: “The support I’ve already had along the way, it’s been awesome – since yesterday people have given me £45 on the way. You get talking to people, and some people just put their hand in their pocket: a fiver or a tenner.”
Mr Murray, who now works for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “John O’Groats is bleak. It is absolutely the end of the world up there. I didn’t see a tree. Today I only managed 23 miles. But yesterday I did 34 miles and 29 the first day, so that’s 84 miles. I’m about 30-odd miles from Inverness. “I’ve had everything so far, weatherwise – it’s really foggy, then it tipped it down with rain for three hours. I love walking, I’ve always enjoyed it. I got the idea about 10 years ago. It’s only now that I’ve got the means to take a month off. And the costs are quite high.”
Mr Murray has set a target of £10,000 and he’s up to already £4,000.
To sponsor him, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/ and search for Owen Murray.