The family and friends of a Scots army captain who died after running the London Marathon four years ago have marked the anniversary by completing the 2.6 Challenge in his memory, raising over £2000 in aid of injured veterans.
Since Captain David Seath, from Crossgates, Fife, collapsed just three miles short of the finish line running the 2016 London Marathon for Help for Heroes, his family have gone on to raise over £310,000 for the charity through the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund.
All the money raised goes towards supporting injured forces personnel, veterans and their families in Scotland through the charity’s fellowship network. An officer in 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, David had chosen to support Help for Heroes through his participation in the London Marathon as he cared passionately about veteran welfare.
The family were forced to postpone the annual Capt David Seath Memorial Fund 5km, due to take place in Dunfermline on Sunday (26 April), because of the Covid 19 pandemic, and will now hold it on Sunday 4 October, to coincide with the rescheduled London Marathon.
Instead the Seaths urged their supporters to do the 2.6 Challenge, a fundraising initiative to support charities affected by the London Marathon postponement. They rose to the challenge, undertaking activities ranging from running, walking and cycling to yoga and trampolining, raising an estimated £2000 on top of the £310,000 the family have already raised over the past four years.
Capt Seath’s mum Libby, who teaches yoga in exchange for donations to the charity, did 26 rounds of Surya Namaskar, a strenuous yoga sequence, via Zoom while brother Gary completed a 10.4km run - 4 x 2.6km marking four years of the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund.
David’s uncle Kevin Sykes undertook a 26.2km cycle in the heat of Perth, Western Australia, while his aunt Fiona and cousin Emma did a 2.6km walk. Cousin Anthony Walshe, who recently joined the RAF, completed a 2.6km run, followed by a body weight session including 26 push-ups and sit-ups and a 2 minute 26 second plank. Another cousin Sarah-Jayne Tunstall carried a 2.6km backpack on a 9.6 km run around York.
Gary Seath, who founded the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund in his brother’s memory, said: “The CDSMF is committed to supporting personnel, veterans and their families across Scotland, during the most unprecedented times. It was very disappointing to have to cancel our 5km fundraising event, however, we fully appreciated the measures taken by the Government as a means to control the spread of the coronavirus, save lives and protect the NHS.
“However, the 2.6 challenge presented an opportunity to continue to raise funds during what is proving an incredibly challenging time within the charity sector, and we have been overwhelmed by the fundraising which has been carried out in support of David’s legacy through the use of technological as well as conventional, socially-distanced means.
“We offer our sincere thanks to everyone who has chosen to raise funds in support of David’s legacy. This weekend also provided pause for reflection as we commemorated four years since David’s tragic passing and to have raised over £310,000.00 is testament to the dedication, commitment and generosity of those who support our cause within the UK and overseas. The situation at the moment remains very uncertain, however, we will continue to explore technological and socially distanced, safe measures as a means raise funds. As a family, it is very important to continue to support personnel, veterans and their families through Help for Heroes to receive the crucial support required across Scotland during these incredibly challenging times.”
David Martin, Help for Heroes’s Head of Fundraising, said: “We know the London Marathon weekend is particularly poignant for the Seath family, yet they have created a positive and inspiring legacy from such a painful anniversary. The funds they have raised in David’s memory make such a tangible difference to our veterans’ lives – we could not do what we do without them, and I thank all those who have raised money in David’s memory on behalf of all the veterans we support.”
Help for Heroes is continuing to provide ongoing virtual support, including benefits advice, counselling sessions, fellowship and support via phone, Skype and digital platforms, to injured veterans, service personnel and their families.
The forces charity has also extended its support to frontline workers, by making available emotional resilience resources to support NHS staff and volunteers around the UK in preparing for and dealing with traumatic experiences. Our Field Guide to Self-Care: Body, Emotion and Mind in Action originally created for, and produced with, wounded veterans is available on the Help for Heroes website for anyone who may be feeling stressed or anxious during these difficult times.
More information on the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund at https://captainseathmemorialfund.blog/. More information on how Help for Heroes support veterans at https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support/