MORE than 30 friends of a North-East soldier killed in Afghanistan will tackle the Three Peaks Challenge in his memory – just two days after what would have been his 30th birthday.
Captain Richard Holloway, of Hamsterley, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, was hit by enemy fire while on operations east of Kabul with the Royal Engineers on December 23 last year.
As a tribute to the adventurous 29-year-old, his best friend James Chilcott has organised for his friends, older brother Luke, girlfriend Sandy Hennis, and her dog Bracken, to climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours in aid of Battle Back, through Help for Heroes, this weekend.
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His mother Jaquie said: “We thought it could be a celebration of Richard’s life, especially with his 30th birthday on Thursday. He loved the outdoors and he was always doing something. He had already done the Three Peaks.
“His love for the outdoors and the Army was clear from an early age. The tent was always going up in the garden and he liked den building, Army games and learning survival skills.
“He was a laid back person who would do anything for anyone and often rearrange his plans for others. However, he absolutely loved the Army and all of its traditions and formalities.”
“He had a passion for what he did. While he was out in Afghanistan he learnt about the culture and the people. He even learnt a bit of the dialect. Whatever he did, he did thoroughly.
“We knew he was good at what he did but it wasn’t until afterwards we realised the full extent. He really lived life to the full.”
More than 700 family, friends and members of the Armed Forces attended the marine geography graduate’s funeral in January. Mrs Holloway, together with her husband Neil, said the support they continue to receive is amazing.
“The community has been brilliant,” she added. “It has meant a great deal to us.”
They hope to hold an annual fundraiser in his memory and there are plans in place to plant a tree and have his name included on the war memorial in the village.
The fundraising target of £2,000 has already been surpassed so the group are now aiming to raise as much as possible. All money raised will go direct to Battle Back, which uses adaptive adventure training and sports rehabilitation to help seriously wounded service personnel.
To donate visit bmycharity.com/captainrichardholloway