Navy officers vowing to raise cash for sick children using nothing but their wits

(L-R) Chris Orkney, Jamie Marples, HMS Ocean Captain Robert Pedre, Kieran WoodWard and Steve Groves.
(L-R) Chris Orkney, Jamie Marples, HMS Ocean Captain Robert Pedre, Kieran WoodWard and Steve Groves.

A Navy officer is taking on an 800-mile challenge to raise cash for sick youngsters.

Steve Groves is one of a team of four naval officers who will make their way from Plymouth to Newcastle - just using their wits.

Chris Orkney with his son Declan.

Chris Orkney with his son Declan.

The four, who are all petty officers on board Britain’s biggest warship, HMS Ocean, set off today and have a week to make their way North using just the clothes on their backs, one mobile phone and their Navy ID cards, in their By Any Means challenge.

They have also been set several challenges by their colleagues, which they have to complete on the way, including making their way to Land’s End, appearing on a national breakfast show and getting a photo outside Downing Street.

The four have taken on the challenge to raise money for the Sick Children’s Trust, which provides accommodation for families at hospitals so they can be next to their very ill youngsters, and, CHUF, the Children’s Heart Unit Fund in Newcastle.

The Navy officers, including 37-year-old Steve, a former Shotton Hall School pupil, who hails from Peterlee and is married with two children, are taking on the challenge as a thank you to the charity which supported one of the team, Petty Officer Chris Orkney and his wife, Nicola, when their three-year-old son, Declan, needed life-saving heart surgery at the Freeman Hospital.

They were totally amazing from the moment we were introduced

Chris Orkney

Steve and Chris, along with their colleagues, Kieran Woodward and Jamie Marples, are hoping to raise £3,000 through their mammoth task.

Chris said: “Being told that the only way to save Declan’s life was for him to have major open heart surgery was horrendous, but immediately we felt supported by The Sick Children’s Trust and CHUF.

“We were introduced to the team on the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) who would be looking after Declan which eased some of our worries – they were totally amazing from the moment we were introduced.

“We cannot put into words how relieved we were to hear that there was somewhere for us to stay, so we could be by Declan’s side at all times. It meant we didn’t have to leave him at his most vulnerable.”

(L-R) Chris Orkney, Steve Groves, Kieran Woodward and Jamie Marples preparing for the By Any Means challenge.

(L-R) Chris Orkney, Steve Groves, Kieran Woodward and Jamie Marples preparing for the By Any Means challenge.

Declan has made a full recovery and Chris said this is all thanks to the amazing team at Freeman Hospital.

Now, the four naval officers are taking on this challenge as a thank you for saving Declan and supporting his family.

To support the men in their challenge visit http://bit.ly/2psz7sk.