Students to Launch Nationwide Campaign to Remember 10 Years in Afghanistan

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A national appeal to raise over £350,000 for those affected by the war in Afghanistan will be launched in London this October. An ambitious team of students from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth are organising the ‘DecAid’ campaign, which will honour the decade long contribution of British Armed Forces in Afghanistan since 2001.

The official launch in 7 Rifles Barracks, Davies Street, London, will be supported by DecAid’s patrons; Lieutenant General Sir Nicholas Parker KCB CBE, Deputy Commander of ISAF Forces in Afghanistan; Hamish Clark of ‘Monarch of the Glen’; the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, and sponsors; Exeter University Innovation Centre; Plymouth University; and NRG Direct Mail.

DecAid’s latest patron, former BBC war correspondent and independent politician, Martin Bell, comments "I find it most heartening that these young people, on their own initiative, are doing so much to support our soldiers in Afghanistan. This is not a celebration but a show of solidarity.”

DecAid proceedings will dominate 2011 in a coordinated year-long campaign. The opening ceremony, a spectacular ‘Massed Pipes and Drums’ event, on 26th June 2011, will see 2,011 musicians march along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, in conjunction with the Armed Forces Day events.

The appeal has set a series of extreme physical challenges which will involve several thousand people nationally, including ex-servicemen, their family and friends. The challenges include; The ‘Munro Mission’, in Scotland, which aims to conquer 283 mountains in 45 days, climbing the height of Mount Everest every three days; ‘The Ride 2 Remember’ static bike race from London to Kabul, ‘The Big Tow’, in which vehicles, will be towed around Rockingham race track in a tri-service competition; and ‘Stretched to the Limit’ where 30 teams will attempt the arduous trek up Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales, carrying a heavy stretcher.

The DecAid enterprise, which will donate to three service charities; ‘Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association’ (SSAFA); ‘The British Ex-Servicemen Association’ (BLESMA); and ‘Talking 2 Minds’, is the brainchild of Rupert Laing, aged 23, a 2009 graduate from The University of Exeter.

Laing comments “we feel passionately about the cause and we hope to encourage support for the physically wounded, the bereaved families, and those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Laing leads the DecAid Team which is made up of current and former members of the Exeter University Officer Training Corps (EUOTC).

As well as its own proceedings, DecAid will oversee individually organised events which can be advertised on their website www.decaid.co.uk. All of the money raised will go towards helping those affected by the decade long conflict in Afghanistan. 

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