Binbrook Firefighter to walk the Freedom Trail in aid of the Royal British Legion

Dan Cheetham EMN-160829-111211001

Dan Cheetham EMN-160829-111211001

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A Binbrook firefighter is preparing for an arduous four-day trek across the Pyrenees to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Dan Cheetham will be one of a group of people walking the Freedom Trail, a route taken by many escaped prisoners of war to flee Nazi-occupied France during World War Two.

I want to make it as authentic as possible

Dan Cheetham

He will complete the trek with only the clothes, equipment and food that would have been available to the escapees and, unlike his fellow fundraisers, will be foregoing a modern tent and sleeping bag at night, opting instead for a thick blanket and a tent made from bedsheets.

He will be surviving on a reconstructed Red Cross food parcel and putting his trust in the local people, as the prisoners of war would have done, hoping to receive gifts of bread and cheese.

“If I am going to do it, I wanted to do it properly,” said Dan.

“Their journey (the prisoners of war) would have been treacherous; the men were faced with blistering heat, freezing cold nights and the constant threat of being discovered.

“While my own journey will lack this urgency, it will nevertheless push me to the very limit and highlight the absolute importance of remembering the hardships that so many experienced.”

Always interested in the history of the Second World War, Dan has researched what the escaped prisoners would wear to blend in with the locals.

He has sourced a contemporary military jacket, which he has dyed to take with him, just as the POWs would have done, and has even been given an authentic wartime miniature meth cooker to take with him.

“I want to make it as authentic as possible,” added Dan.

He will also only have on him as much money as the prisoners would have been able to scrape together before their escape and there will be no modern gadgets.

The journey from St Girons to Esterri de Aneu climbs 10,000 feet, with temperatures ranging from -10 to 30 degrees Celsius

Dan will be carrying all his equipment throughout the trek - almost equivalent in weight to a firefighter’s BA kit.

To support Dan’s challenge, in which he is aiming to raise £2,000, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/daniel-cheetham.