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Portsmouth to Plymouth charity challenge for Harrison

18 August 2020
A Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer has completed an epic Charity Challenge that has taken him from HMS Nelson in Portsmouth to HMS Drake in Plymouth.

Hiking along the South Coast across Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Dorset and Devon, Chief Petty Officer Chris Levy along with retired Petty Officer Simon Cranfield, have completed over 220 Miles on their marathon endeavour, raising funds for The Grand Appeal (Bristol Children’s Hospital) and Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC). Two charities who Chris is especially grateful too.

Over the past 10 days they have endured the highs and lows of long distance walking, in particular the closure of several paths on the  route due to coastal erosion. Camping out every night, they have also benefited from the generosity of many people along the way for use of electrical charging points and ferry crossings. 

We divided the days up into roughly 20 mile segments, but with detours and the rugged nature of the coast though Dorset and Devon, we have some days cracked 24 to 25 miles. It’s a grueling challenge, but worth every penny we can raise for the Charities.

Chief Petty Officer Chris Levy

Chris’s motivation for the Nelson to Drake Hike is because of the help his family received when his son Harrison was rushed to Bristol Children’s Hospital after first being placed in Intensive Care at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. Harrison needed life-saving surgery and was ‘Blue-Lighted’ to Bristol for specialist care and further surgeries for weeks on end.

“We spent just over two months in Bristol and Derriford combined, in ICU and a recovery ward. Our whole family was displaced, my wife and I spent 24 hours shifts at Harrisons side for the whole period. In total Harrison had three major surgeries, one being life-saving and over 50 Lumbar punctures over a period of six months.

“It did not end there as there were complications which resulted in Harrison having a peritoneal Shut being surgically implanted into his spine alongside blood clots in his head. Over the years, he has had various appointments, tests and minor surgeries to monitor his progress and remains in the care of specialist Consultants.

“Thankfully he now leads a perfectly normal life, albeit with some restrictions on contact sports and must be mindful that a serious blow to his head or Shunt location could still be fatal. A truly harrowing experience that I would not wish on any family, I am thankful that so many Doctors, Nurses, HCAs, friends, family and Charities were able to help support us in our time of need.”

There to meet Chris and Simon two days before the end was Harrison, who completed the final part of the hike from Buckfastleigh to HMS Drake in Devonport.


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