By Abdulmohsen Al Mayyas
In November 2009, whilst enduring an arduous rehabilitation program for severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sustained on operations in Afghanistan, Ram Patten decided he wanted to do something to help increase awareness on the matter. He formulated a plan to speed march a sponsored mile to mark each loss the British Armed Forces had sustained since operations in Iraq and Afghanistan began in 2001.
On the 4th November 2010 four teams of serving and ex-serving individuals from each of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces began an epic ‘March For Honour’. Starting in four separate locations across the UK, the teams dedicate and speed-marched a mile for every British military life lost on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Each team marched an average of around 30 miles a day and a total distance of up to 260 miles, carrying no less than 55 pounds of equipment. The teams united along the route before marching into London on the 11th November 2010 to deliver the Book of Remembrance to the Royal Albert Hall for the National Festival of Remembrance.
The March For Honour 2010 national fundraising event in the UK was a resounding success, which saw the cause raising in excess of GBP 740,000 (KD 337,000), all of which was donated to the recipient nominated charity.
The year 2013 is set to be a great year for March For Honour fundraising. 2013 will see the March For Honour starting with a team setting off from Sief Palace to Messilah Beach along the Gulf Road and returning to the finish at the British Embassy in Kuwait.
“The British expatriate community experiences the esteemed hospitality of Kuwait and therein wish to thank the State of Kuwait for the longstanding close ties in diplomacy, trade, investment and academia,” Ram Patten said. “We must lead by example in order for the public to follow suit in support of youth development in the State of Kuwait. Therefore I will utilize the March For Honour 2013 cause as a means to increase public awareness on the efforts and achievements of LOYAC, this year’s nominated recipient non-profit organization.”
LOYAC, a local non-profit organization, was founded by a group of committed women in Kuwait as a proactive response to the violence that shook the world in September 11, 2001. The founding members of LOYAC recognized that youth can be led towards peace by providing them with opportunities for personal growth, experiencing the joy of service and developing their professional skills through on-the-job training internships that build self confidence. Embracing peace as its prime awareness message, the group set about formulating programs and activities that will help them achieve their stated objectives.
Patten went on to say, “I am honored to announce that His Highness The Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Her Majesty’s Ambassador His Excellency Frank Baker OBE has agreed to be this year’s events patrons.” With immense support from their community and their government, The March For Honour’s mission is to utilize innovative means of fundraising in order to donate the funds raised to an annually nominated recipient charity.
The team in Kuwait is set to cover a distance a little over 30 miles (50 km) along Kuwait City’s Gulf Road. The aim is to complete the distance in ten hours, in full combat marching order and carrying a 55lbs Bergen/military pack. All other participants will not be required to carry a load. “The concept is for the British expatriate community to celebrate our UK Armed Forces under SSAFA whilst simultaneously demonstrating the strength in our ties with our esteemed hosts in the State of Kuwait through the promotion of local youth development programmes under LOYAC.” Patten explained.
The key is to amalgamate a contingent of British and Kuwaiti nationals consisting of servicemen and women, veterans and civilians alike, not exceeding groups of thirty members at any one time, however we anticipate that we will attract between 300 – 600 participants. Team members will be invited to participate for the whole distance, with pre-determined drop-off points for the relay groups. There is going to be a drive to encourage all of varying levels of ability to partake in the March For Honour 2013.
The March For Honour cause was created to establish a firm, dependable and additional fundraising platform for annually nominated charities. Patten believes they do not get enough recognition and praise for the invaluable, essential and unfathomably tremendous work.
Whether you are looking to participate or to just cheer the march on, we highly encourage coming out and being a part of this very unique event to support these soldiers for charity.
For more information visit: www.marchforhonour.com, view them on youtube.com/marchforhonour, or follow them on Twitter, Instagram @marchforhonour