York Army Veteran – from Head Injury to Endurance Challenge
A York army veteran, who was forced to give up work after a vicious assault, is returning to one of Scotland’s toughest endurance challenges to give back to the charity which supported him.
The Cateran Yomp will return to the beautiful hills and glens of the historic Cateran Trail in Perthshire on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 June 2022. Starting at 6am on Saturday and ending in the early hours of Sunday, The Cateran Yomp challenges teams of brave souls to walk 22, 36 or 54 miles in less than 24 hours, raising much-needed funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
Last year, during the 10th-anniversary Yomp, 515 participants raised over £400,000 to help soldiers, veterans and their families. So far, 180 teams comprising over 1,000 people have signed up for the 2022 event, with participants travelling as far as Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain and USA.
Supporting those taking part is Iain Forbes (55), who served in the Army Catering Corp from 1985 to1989. Iain was working as a tree surgeon and landscaper when he was attacked in York, sustaining a head injury and broken ribs. The assailant was found guilty, while Iain was left unable to work for several months.
After being advised to contact the Armed Forces charity, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), Iain received help from the Army Catering Corp, Royal Logistics Corps and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, allowing him to cover his basic living expenses.
Then, while waiting for a knee replacement in 2018, Iain was seeking a challenge and decided to volunteer at the 2018 Yomp. He then completed the Silver route with a group of fellow veteran friends in 2019. Iain also completed the miles during the virtual ‘Plan B’ Yomp of 2020 and, in 2021, persuaded his son, Thomas from the RAF Regiment and stepdaughter Jenny, a firefighter, to join him. Both Iain and his son completed Gold, with Jenny reaching Silver. However, his 2021 attempt took a turn for the worst when Iain suffered a mild cardiac problem at 37 miles, which now requires surgery. As a result, Iain cannot participate this year but is returning as a volunteer.
Iain said, “The proudest moment in my life was in 2019, crossing the line with my son who had come back for me. Although I’d love to be taking part again this year, I’m determined to continue my support for a charity that helped me when the chips were down. I’ve now personally raised over £5,000 for the charity and, although I can’t compete this year, I’ve been inspired to help others which is what we do in the military family. I can’t wait for the weekend to come, and to show my support for a charity that makes such a difference to the lives and futures of thousands of soldiers, veterans and their families.”
Since 1944, the Army’s National Charity has been providing a lifetime of practical and financial assistance to soldiers, veterans and their families across the UK. Since its launch, the challenge has raised over £4M for The Soldier’s Charity, with donations funding everything from wheelchair ramps for soldiers’ homes to respite care and personal recovery plans for injured soldiers returning from the front line. Last year alone, the charity supported 60,000 people in 63 countries worldwide.
Major General Tim Hyams CB OBE, CEO of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, added, “We very much are looking forward to the 11th Cateran Yomp in June. Expected to be our biggest Yomp yet, I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet many of our supporters on the 54-mile route. It should be a brilliant weekend, with everyone coming together for one common goal – to support soldiers, veterans and their families.”