Endurance for the Felix Fund
A specialist in bomb disposal, over the last six or seven years he has been raising money for the Felix Fund through completing endurance events. The Fund supports the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community and their families. As a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wadsworth says, dear friends have died; other friends have been left physically and mentally damaged.
“The Felix Fund is dear to my heart,” he states, “because it has supported the families of my friends that have been killed, and it has continued to support friends that have been injured.”
When asked if there is enough support out there for soldiers and their families, Waddie answers, “Not even close. Financially people need a lot more support,” he resumes, then adding: “An understanding of what soldiers have been through and can go through is absolutely paramount.” He’s returned from tours and has been seen by psychotherapists who have no understanding of the horrors he’s witnessed. They don’t know the smell of burning flesh, or what it’s like to pick somebody up to put in a body bag – to have them then fall in half and spill their guts to the floor. “An average civilian doesn't really know how to give guidance to a soldier about that because they've never experienced it themselves.”
He recently took on Marathon Des Sables – 250km on foot across the Sahara desert, self-aided. Moreover, last year he ventured over 15 days from Edinburgh to Bielefield in Germany, with other military cyclists as part of the first ‘Tour De Troops’ event. Though he turns 40 this year and his “body’s starting to ache”, he’s not slowing down. Under the ‘Captain James Wadsworth Challenge’ umbrella, the Tour De Troops is returning in June this year. Participants will undertake an 874-mile bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats – and attempt it in just five days. The Challenge are also this year launching the Soldiers Pass Run, for which service personnel and civilians will run a route of 5, 10, 21 or 42km – all starting and finishing in Didcot. There is also the option of 100km which takes runners as far as Reading, unsurprisingly this is the distance Waddie will run. Families and non-runners are invited to take part in a fun day at Vauxhall Barracks for a chance to enjoy refreshments and meet serving military personnel.
Waddie points out that he does enjoy these gruelling challenges he takes on; he has “a big bucket list of cool stuff and a brilliant by-product of that is it raises profile and money for the charity”.
To sign up for this year’s Tour De Troops (7-11 June), or to take part in the Soldiers Pass Run (14 July), visit helmtickets.com. You can also donate to both at justgiving.com, thus supporting the Felix Fund, and in turn the other charities they support.