One of our instructors has raised more than £1000 for The Royal Corps of Signals and a seriously Ill little girl- with 100 mile cycle, walking and running tour of 1 Company Detachments
S.I. Lloyd Lester, of Walton detachment, is no stranger to exertion and endurance. He served as a reservist with the Royal Corps of Signals and has run half marathons on multiple occasions, and is used to long cycle rides and keeping himself physically fit.
On Sunday 28th June, he set off on a really daunting challenge- to visit all nine 1 company detachments by running, cycling and tabbing (walking at a fast pace with heavy pack) in a single day, a distance of more than one hundred miles. The objective was to raise money for two charities, The first being The Royal Signals Charity, which helps veterans of the Royal Corps of Signals and their families, which SI Lester wanted to support as a veteran himself, and to help commemorate the centenary of the creation of that Regiment.
SI Lester with SSI Silveri, SMI Moody and Cadet Corporal Hart at March Detachment. Pictures Doug Stuart/Cambs ACF
The other objective was to raise money to help eight year old Isla, a little girl with brain cancer who is about to undergo chemotherapy. Isla’s situation was explained to SI Lester by his colleague SI Rowlands who knows the girl’s family. SI Lester hopes that the money will help her family and enable them to have a holiday.
Whilst preparing, he was enthusiastic. ‘It’s the hardest challenge I’ve ever done’ he says. ‘Not just the physical effort, but mentally as well. I’m really excited- I just want to get going.’ His preparations have been extensive, not only in terms of his own fitness, but also in route planning and discussions with his support team, who travelled in a car. He carried a three litre water pack and bottles of Lucozade, and kept up his energy by eating pasta (with bacon and salt) and Kendal Mint Cake. He has adapted his mountain bike for road use by replacing the tyres with thinner ones at higher pressure.
SI Lester on the approach to March Detachment. Picture Doug Stuart/Cambs ACF
Starting at Yaxley at 7am, he tabbed with 42lb weight to Fletton (4.3 miles), stopping at the Cenotaph in Peterborough to pay his respects and mark Armed Forces week. He then tabbed to Walton/Talavera (2.8 miles) and rode to Wisbech (32.5 miles) and March (23.9 miles) then onto Chatteris (6.9 miles) Ramsey (12.7 miles) Whittlesey (10.2 miles) and rode to Facet and then ran onto Yaxley (10.2 miles in total).
He was supported by SSI Silveri, SMI Moody and Cadet Corporal Pheonix Hart. At March detachment he had a surprise meeting with 1 Company OC Major Deacon who had come along to show her support and ride with him to Chatteris.
He completed the challenge and was welcomed with a great deal of applause by a group of well-wishers at Yaxley detachment, a greeting which he said was ‘amazing’ and he would never forget. To date, he has raised more than £1000.
1 Company OC Major Deacon said; 'Today I had the privilege to support one of my adult volunteers, SGT Lloyd Lester, on his epic 100 mile round trip of all the detachments in 1 Company, which he completed in just under 12 hours.The cadets, parents and adult instructors of 1 company are so proud of his achievement. Well done!'
SI Lester with 1 Coy OC Major Deacon. Picture Doug Stuart/Cambs ACF
Support came not just from Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force, but also from The Royal Corps of Signals itself, who sent the following message;
‘The Corps have been overwhelmed with stories of people who have gone the extra mile to help celebrate our centenary while raising money for the Royal Signals Charity. One person in particular who has gone above and beyond is SI Lloyd Lester who completed over 100 miles in 12 hours by tabbing, running and cycling between nine detachments to raise money toward cancer treatment for 8 year old Isla from Doddington in addition to the Royal Signals Charity. It is this dedication and commitment that has been an inspiration to everyone and we are grateful to have people like this in our Corps family.’
SI Lester has been awarded The Commandant's Coin.
Cadet Commandant Colonel Mark Knight MBE DL said; 'Firstly I wanted to congratulate you for your tremendous effort at the weekend in running, cycling and tabbing 100 miles to mark the 100th birthday of the Royal Signals, and to raise funds for the 8 year old little girl, Isla, who is sadly very poorly. Secondly, to say your actions have been recognised and you have been awarded a Commandant's Coin. Your achievement has also helped engage Cadets and CFAV's in our efforts to "Keep the ACF Flame Alive", so thank you. I plan to join you on a Detachment virtual training parade to formally award the Coin to you in front of all your Cadets. All Ranks of Cambridgeshire ACF are very proud of you. Well done'
Text and photos by PI Doug Stuart, County P.R.O.
You can still donate at; https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lloyd-lester