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Former soldier from Boston, Ben Ground to tackle Cannock Running Festival 10k carrying 11kg military backpack in aid of SSAFA The Armed Forced Charity

An ex-soldier is tackling a running challenge while carrying military gear to raise money for an Armed Forces charity

Ben Ground, from Boston, wants to give back to SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, which has supported many of his friends, by taking part in the Cannock Running Festival 10km race next month.

As an extra challenge, Ben will be carrying an 11kg military backpack (called a Bergen) for the run.

Ben Ground with Sgt Aron Walker of the 2nd Batt Royal Anglian Regiment
Ben Ground with Sgt Aron Walker of the 2nd Batt Royal Anglian Regiment

In preparation, he has been training with the Army at Kendrew Barracks in Rutland, will be visiting the Royal Navy’s HMS Raleigh to complete the assault course with the new recruits, and will go to RAF Cosford in Wolverhampton.

“When you are serving you have a very clear identity,” he said.

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“When that is taken away from you (when you leave the military), that is a very difficult thing.

“So many ex-military personnel struggle to find their place in the world.”

The veteran was in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment and now volunteers for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, as a caseworker.

“My time in the military was so important in sculpting who I am today,” Ben said.

“I was lucky to leave on my own terms, but I lost people in combat and I know what the repercussions of that can be - volunteering for SSAFA was the sensible thing for me to do.”

Aiming to raise £500, Ben has already reached more than half of his goal ready to hit the starting point in Birches Valley Cannock Chase Forest on April 14.

“I’m in my mid-50s so this run is a testament to the perseverance and spirit of those we aim to support,” He said.

“Despite my age, I am ready to face this challenge head-on, symbolising the resilience and determination we need to overcome the problems we sometimes face as service leavers.”

Donations can be made to Ben’s JustGiving page here.

Charity stories can be sent to: news@lincsonline.co.uk

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