Ian to walk 300 miles for Australian firefighters
published on 4 Mar 2020
A Southsea man is beginning a series of nine walks covering almost 300 miles on Thursday 5 March to raise money for volunteer firefighters in the Australian state of Victoria.
Major Ian Urmston runs The Salvation Army church and community centre at 84 Albert Road with his wife Major Helen Urmston. Over the next two months, Ian will be trekking an average of 32 miles per walk as he visits Salvation Army halls in locations including Salisbury, Dorchester and Winchester.
“From December onwards, I’d been seeing, hearing and reading news reports – as we all did I’m sure, about the bushfires sweeping across Australia and the devastating effect they’ve had on the people and wildlife of the country. It had a profound effect on me” said Ian.
“I fundraise for good causes and charity every year – I’ve shaved my head and done a skydive for The Salvation Army and done lots of sponsored walks. This year I wanted to do something to help people affected by the bushfires and I spoke to our divisional leader – Major Gregory Morgan about my plans. As he and his wife Major Priya Morgan had come from Melbourne in Victoria to Southampton last year to lead our work in Southern Division, Gregory was able to give me a very informed insight into how Australia deals with bushfires.
“I was impressed by the fact that the people who were on the frontline fighting the bushfires in Victoria – the County Fire Authority, were mostly volunteers. This struck a chord with me and this is why I have decided to fundraise to support those brave and selfless souls who risked their lives to save others.”
Ian’s nine walks will begin and end at Salvation Army churches across the organisation’s Southern Division which covers an area including Hampshire, Dorset and Sussex. Ian’s itinerary:
* Thursday 5 March- Southampton ferry terminal and ending at The Salvation Army in Southsea. This walk will be 26 miles long.
* Friday 13 March - Southsea Salvation Army to The Salvation Army centre in Alton. Ian will cover 31 miles on this walk.
* Friday 20 March- Alton Salvation Army to Winchester Salvation Army. This is a 40 mile walk.
* Tuesday 31 March- Winchester Salvation Army to Eastleigh Salvation Army. A distance of 30 miles.
* Friday 3 April - The Salvation Army church in Salisbury to the Dorchester Salvation Army. Ian will walk 40 miles.
* Thursday 9 April - Dorchester Salvation Army to Swanage Salvation Army. A 35 mile walk.
* Friday 17 April- The Salvation Army in Swanage to Christchurch Salvation Army. This is a 21 mile walk for Ian.
* Friday 24 April - Christchurch Salvation Army to Fordinbridge Salvation Army.
* Friday 1 May - The final leg will see Ian trekking just over 31 miles from Fordingbridge Salvation Army to The Salvation Army’s divisional headquarters in Fareham.
Ian will be carrying a donation bucket and accepting donations for the Victoria County Fire Authority on his walks.