June 20 2013 Latest news:
Story by: ROB SETCHELL, Reporter
Monday, May 21, 2012
A SOLDIER from Chatteris is cycling hundreds of miles in the Afghanistan desert to help a colleague combat the rare disease which hospitalised his son.
Louis Newstead, 28, is one of 10 soldiers who are taking to exercise bikes to help Matthew Cox raise money for charity.
Mr Cox had to fly home after just five days of his six-month tour in Afghanistan because his 10-month-old son Heston fell seriously ill.
Doctors at Southampton General Hospital diagnosed the youngster with Hirschsprung’s disease - a rare disorder of the gut which can be fatal if left untreated.
Mr Cox spent a month in hospital as Heston recovered and now he is leading the fund-raising efforts to tackle the disease.
Ten soldiers are well on the way to cycling the 4,291 miles from Lashkar Gah, where they are based, to the Southampton hospital where Heston is being treated.
Grant Newstead, Louis’ brother, said: “Each person will have to complete 429 miles. Unfortunately they will have to complete this virtually as ten British soldiers cycling through Iran is apparently inadvisable.
“They will have to complete it on exercise bikes in the gym that they have in their camp.
“They are working 12-hour days in 40-degree heat and now they are tackling the cycling as well. I take my hat off to them.”
The soldiers have already raised more than £1,200 and their final total will be split between three charities.
They will donate cash to Action Medical Research, which helps to tackle rare diseases, G4 Children’s Surgical Ward, which helped treat Heston, and the Army Benevolent Fund (The Solder’s Charity).
For more information and to sponsor the cyclists visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/tensoldiers