From Camp Bastion to Coleraine

Oliver's Army are on the march.
Oliver's Army are on the march.

Wee Oliver Dickey has his own army behind him now after a group of soldiers started an incredible fundraising effort in Afghanistan for the five-year-old.

The soldiers, one of whom is from Coleraine, are responsible for the in theatre training of some 5,000 troops and they have answered the Dickey’s family call setting up a mini army for Oliver.

Camp Bastion, where soldiers are doing their bit for wee Oliver Dickey.

Camp Bastion, where soldiers are doing their bit for wee Oliver Dickey.

Over the next 100 days the soldiers will run, row and cycle the distance from Camp Bastion to Coleraine - just under 4,000 miles - to help wee Oliver reach his £60,000 target.

“The challenge entails covering the distance from Camp Bastion to Coleraine Showgrounds (3961miles) by either running, rowing or cycling as long as it can be measured via vehicle or machine,” said a spokesperson for the challenge.

“When I told the lads about wee Oliver and they read the Justgiving page they wanted to help, we are all fathers ourselves after all. We had a few ideas ranging from a marathon out there to quizzes etc.

“However, given the fact we’d be nearly four thousand miles away and there is loads of events out there for military charities, we decided that we would try and make a lasting event that would if anything, raise awareness of Oliver and his fundraising challenge.

“The team as it stands consists of 10 senior Non-Commisioned Officers, who will have to do their normal job training the troops whilst fitting in as many miles in between their work routine.

“It works out quite well that the team come from a diverse area from all over the UK and Ireland, so hopefully the word can spread widely.”

The troops will have a number of challenges to face themselves as they undertake their challenge, none more so than the heat in Afghanistan.

“As the months push on towards summer time we will be expecting to be in 40 degree heat by the time we leave, so the onus is on us to hit the target sooner rather than later,” added the spokesperson.

“Under 100 days is the target we’ve set and I’m sure for all the clever ones who’s worked it out, it works out at about four miles a day per man, however, take into consideration, acclimatisation factor and our own in theatre training package.

“Plus taking over our job from the out going team, we will already have lost about 10 days, plus the two already for delayed flights out there. So it’ll all add up.”

Supporters can follow Oliver’s Army on Twitter for updates of targets and see how the lads are getting on search for @OliverChallenge.

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