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Simon Pimm

1000 miles on foot to Lake Malawi

Total raised so far £0.00

Target £0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00

Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p]Hi I'm Simon Pimm, firstly I would like to say thank you for clicking the link that brought you here, secondly I'm hoping you'll take five minutes to read my 'blurb' and hopefully part with some of your hard earned money to help me smash my fundraising target. Even if you can only spare £1, it will be gratefully appreciated. [/p][p]Now for the 'sales pitch' haha......[/p][p]I was a member of the British Army for 12 years. I served with 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (nicknamed 'The Vikings') and deployed on multiple operational tours of Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. I left the Army in 2010 and found transitioning into normal life really difficult. Problems started mounting immediately, as within six months of me leaving I found myself going through not only an acrimonious divorce but also watching my father deteriorate and finally succumb to his cancer. These, along with the civilian pressures of; finding employment and housing were all too much to deal with so I chose to ignore it all, bury my head in the sand and 'man up'!!. Believing they would all go away on their own. Unfortunately this wasn't the case, as it is with mental health issues and the bigger they became. This eventually resulted in a total breakdown in 2019. With the support of my fiancee Katie and learning to talk about things, some of which were very distressing for us both, she showed me that; 'its ok to not be ok', I realised that I needed to speak out and get help, quickly. I went to see my GP, who did the initial assessment and passed me over quite efficiently to my local NHS mental health service. After seeing them they realised the services they offered were not suitable for my condition. They referred me to the veterans TILS (Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service) at St Pancras Hospital. I received an appointment within a month. They officially diagnosed me with CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), signed me off work and told me they would be in touch with a treatment plan. After months of waiting to hear from them, becoming more depressed and sliding further into the 'dark place', I finally took the courage and contacted the Woolwich office of SSAFA. I'd just likie to say that this was a really hard thing to do, as my battalion is now based in Woolwich barracks, so I knew that I would bump into people I hadn't seen for years, feeling ashamed to let them see how far I thought I had fallen from the 'Army' Simon they knew me as. The guys at SSAFA were brilliant they took my case on and helped to get me seen by The Veterans Mental Health Complex Treatment service (also at St Pancras hospital). Over the past eleven months I have worked closely with a Cognitive Behavioural/ EMDR therapist undergoing a course of bespoke and intense therapy. This took me back to specific events, helped me to strip them back to what they actually were and process them properly, all in a safe, consistent and controlled way. I can truly say that without SSAFA's help and intervention I honestly don't know if I would be here today. During my therapy one of the things that I discovered was a real, personal desire to do something that not only helped myself and my ongoing recovery, but that others would benefit from too. After long private thoughts as to what this 'something' could be, the idea of walking from Victoria Falls in Zambia to Lake Malawi in Malawi, a distance of over a thousand miles, popped into my head and wouldn't leave..... BUT HOW TO DO IT??? Not on my own that's for sure!! So that led me to thinking who I knew who was daft enough to accompany me??.......BOOM....my old army mukka Marc Stewardson!! Marc and I become friends in 2002 when he joined the battalion. During our friendship we discovered that our fathers knew each other back in the 60's whilst working in Zambia, before my dad moved to Malawi and met my mum. Marc left the army around the same time as me, moving back to South Africa to train as a helicopter pilot. He currently flies HEMS helicopters and has worked across southern Africa for many years. So I got in touch, outlined the plans and he was on board straight away.[/p][p] 'Africa Vikings, The Long Boot', was born! [/p][p][b][u]THE PLAN [/u][/b][/p][p]We will start at Victoria Falls hopefully on the 1st June 2021, and proceed to walk across Africa (1000+ miles) finishing at Lake Malawi mid August. Our intentions are to stop at NGO (Non Government Organisation) outposts and villages along the route, doing work in exchange for food and shelter.[/p][p][b][u]MY CHARITIES[/u][/b][/p][p]I'll now outline why I have chosen the charities that I have.[/p][p][b][u]SSAFA [/u][/b] obviously because of the help and support I've received. They are a tri-service charity that does an extraordinary amount for servicemen and women, veterans and their families. Aside from the support they provide for mental health, one of the other areas they work with is helping to rehome veterans and get them off the streets.[/p][p][br][/p][p][b][u]Open Arms Malawi[/u][/b] Is a charity that provides care, accommodation, education and above all, love to AIDS orphans in Malawi. This is one of the poorest countries in the world, with one of the highest rates of AIDS. They have two residential homes for the children, one in Blantyre and the other in Mangochi, on the shores of Lake Malawi and is intended to be our finish line. On a personal note my mother and father met in Malawi, got married and my brother and I were born in Blantyre. Moving back to Britain when I was just a few months old. My mother is a long term supporter of Open Arms.[/p][p][b][u]ASPIRE ACADEMY [/u][/b]this is an additional needs and behavioral school based in Welling that my daughter attends, it's not a charity so I was unable to link it to my page. Angel is ten and has ASD and ADHD as well as other complex needs, She transferred to Aspire from mainstream school in September 2019 and they have worked tremendously hard in helping Angel's developmental needs, both educationally and socially. Even during the months of the Covid lockdown. But as we all know due to council cut backs they regularly find themselves underfunded. So it would be really good to help them continue to provide support for the children in their care and their families.[/p][p]So if you managed to make it this far, I applaud you and I hope that you agree my charities are worthy and make a donation and share the link.[/p][p]Thank you again[/p][p]Simon and Marc[/p][p]STABILIS[/p][p]Thank you[/p][p][b]PHOTO[/b][/p][p]1.Our route[/p][p]2. Myself and Marc (2003)[/p][p]3. Victoria Falls, Zambia (start point)[/p][p]4. Lake Malawi, Malawi (finish point)[/p][p]5. SSAFA charity logo[/p][p]6. Open Arms children[/p]
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Personal Challenge Date

01 Jun 2021


Feb 22, 2021

Sally Stewardson

This is right up your street and you will be doing something you love for a worthy cause. I know you will have a brilliant time. I am so proud of you. Be careful, stay safe and enjoy. 😘

£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid

Feb 9, 2021


£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid

Jan 25, 2021

John and Karen

Wishing you both all the best with your challenge.

£60.00 plus £15.00 Gift Aid

Jan 14, 2021

Peter and Linda Balls

Dear Simon and Marc, Have a Great adventure they are wonderful charities you are supporting. All the best. Take good care of your feet! God bless Linda and Peter x


Jan 10, 2021


What a positive way to deal with those issues and help such worthwhile charities. Good luck Simon and Marc.

£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Dec 24, 2020


£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Dec 23, 2020

John Hurd

Simon, This is a fine initiative to help very worthy causes. The trek will be a blast, and something you'll remember throughout your life. Respect.

£200.00 plus £50.00 Gift Aid

Dec 17, 2020


Good luck Simon and Marc!


Dec 4, 2020

Finola Johnson

I wish you the best of luck with your inspirational venture for such good causes. I'm sure you and Marc will have the journey of a lifetime.

£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid

Nov 18, 2020


Will look forward to following your progress, Simon and Marc, and admire you for your adventurous idea, including a way of helping others. Good luck! Gilly and Roman.

£22.50 plus £5.63 Gift Aid