A group of local men and women are taking on a 100-mile march in five days this summer to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
The group of Royal British Legion members and supporters from Dromore will be using the event not only to raise funds for the Northern Ireland Poppy Appeal and Macmillan Cancer Support, but also in commemoration of the thousands of lives lost during one of the most important battles of World War One.
Dromore Branch Standard Bearer Colin Ward who, along with Branch Chairman Adrian Hawthorne, is heading up the group of walkers, is confident that their event will go to plan.
He said: “We initially came up with the idea a couple of years ago – to march one mile for every year of the centenary, ending at the Ulster Tower in France. We will have five walkers and two support drivers.”
The group will be leaving Northern Ireland on 24 June, following a farewell parade and assembly at Dromore war memorial. Then, dressed in specially-commissioned replica WW1 army uniforms, the marchers will make their way to London and onward to their start point at Boulogne Harbour.
“They plan on averaging 24 miles per day, reaching the Ulster Tower on 30 June,” added Colin. “We will stop about a mile out and get changed so that we can arrive at the Ulster Tower, appropriately, wearing our WW1 uniforms.”
Lyn Palmer, NI Poppy Appeal Community Fundraising Officer, said: “I’m thrilled and grateful that the group has taken on this challenge to raise money for the Poppy Appeal. As we mark the various centenaries of the First World War, it is as important as ever to remember the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces, both then and now.”
Donations can be made to the March to The Somme challenge by visiting www.justgiving.com/MarchtotheSommePoppy or by contacting the Dromore RBL branch.