A DECORATED soldier whose wartime experiences triggered debilitating ME has raised £10,000 for charity by travelling from Lands End to John O’Groats - on a mobility scooter.
Simon Angel, 46, rode for an average of 40 miles a day and took less than a month to compete the 874-mile trip.
The former Elphinstone School and The Grove pupil was helped by his support vehicle driver Mick Weaving and says the encouragement he received from baffled locals along the way helped him complete the trek far quicker than he had planned. Mr Angel was awarded the MBE in 2000 after serving in Cyprus, Belize, the Falklands, Canada, Germany, Kuwait and Northern Ireland.
And it was for his work in the province, where he helped save more than 100 lives as Boat Section Commander, that the corporal saw his efforts recognised by the Queen.
However, it was as a result of combat stress that the hero developed ME and he now devotes large chunks of his time to fundraising for Help For Heroes - the national charity which helps injured ex-servicemen.
Speaking to the Observer, Mr Angel said: “It was a great experience.
“We met many supportive and kind people along the way who have helped us in all respects from accommodation, free tent pitches to meals and donations.”
And he says he has a stack of special memories to remind him of his mammoth expedition now he is back safe and sound in his family home.
Highlights included stopping to pay his respects at the National Memorial Arboretum, passing through Wootton Bassett and, obviously, reaching Land’s End.
“The month of the trip was one of the most memorable in my whole life and the final donations will help fellow injured servicemen and woman who are the true heroes in this story.”
But what now? A well deserved rest? Not quite. Mr Angel has his sights firmly set on another fundraiser.
“I heard on the grapevine about someone trying to break the world record for the longest distance covered on a mobility scooter in 24 hours.
“I am going to wait for that record to be confirmed - and then smash it.”
Mr Angel is still busy collecting sponsorship and to make a donation visit www.rallyforremembrance.co.uk.