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Latest News 16 February 2018

Three military charities come together to relaunch late Army surgeon’s fundraiser for injured veterans

Three military charities are coming together to relaunch the D-Day 44 Challenge, an event first run by Lt Col Mike McErlain, a serving Army surgeon who changed the lives of many injured service personnel for the better.

Mike, his wife Jo and his brother-in-law Giles Barnes set up the run in 2009 but tragically Mike collapsed and died while doing the run himself in 2013. Now with Jo’s blessing the event returns in 2018, the 74th anniversary of the D-Day landings, to continue its important fundraising work, with the three chosen charities being Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, Blind Veterans UK and Combat Stress.

Lt Col McErlain was a consultant orthopaedic trauma and spinal surgeon based at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey. Mike joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) 1990 and the Parachute Regiment in 1996, completing operational tours of Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as working at the Defence Medical and Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court during his career. He was passionate about remembering those on the Normandy Beaches who gave their lives for our freedom today, and saw the D-Day 44 Challenge as a way of commemorating them.

I am thrilled that we are continuing Mike’s legacy by raising money for three incredible charities. The D-Day 44 Challenge along the Normandy Beaches is an epic journey of adventure. The massive sense of achievement and pride the participants will gain in helping such important charities, make the challenge all the more profound

Mike’s widow Jo

Community and Events Manager at Blesma, Sophie Allen, says: “Blesma, Blind Veterans UK and Combat Stress are honoured to be working with Jo McErlain on furthering Mike’s legacy with the D-Day Challenge. Between us we are aiming to raise as much money for our wounded veterans as possible, while honouring those past generations who also sacrificed so much for their country.”

How do I sign up for the D Day 44 Challenge?

What? A 44-mile run or a 22-mile walk

When? 5-7 June

Where? Normany. Run across the five beaches of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword and Juno

Fundraising? For an initial registration fee of £150, the three-day package includes return transport from London, two nights’ accommodation, all meals, including a pasta party the night before and full medical and event support. A fundraising pledge of £1000 will mean no further costs – a fundraising pledge of £500 will incur a further £340 fee to cover running costs of the event.

To learn more and register, please click here


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