10th September 2015 Six severely injured soldiers to kayak 465 miles down the Yukon River in Canadian Alaska with Pilgrim Bandits Charity.

Pilgrim Bandits’ extreme expeditions are designed to push men and women from the Army, Navy, RAF, Police, Ambulance and Fire services to the absolute limit.  Having sustained horrendous injuries either in the line of duty or during the time of their service in some other capacity, these challenges rebuild confidence and self-esteem, by requiring participants to use a huge range of professional skills gained in service.

Recent expeditions have included; an 80 mile trek across the Hardanger Plateau, Norway retracing the steps of a famous allied mission in WW2 – The Heroes of Telemark.  During 2014 the charity kayaked 90 miles of the Gironde from the Bay of Biscay to Bordeaux, retracing the remarkable Cockleshell Heroes mission also from WW2.

10429235_392947780857534_4102539848334678378_nPilgrim Bandits Charity was founded by ex-SAS veterans to provide extreme physical challenges to severely injured men and women from all the services to enable them to rebuild personal confidence.  By working with schools, colleges, care homes and young offenders’ institutes, Pilgrim Bandits Charity also seeks to inspire underprivileged young people by sharing these remarkable experiences in informal and informative presentations with interactive question and answer sessions.

Steve Beard, CEO of Pilgrim Bandits Charity explains, “This is our toughest expedition yet.  The Yukon is one of the fastest flowing rivers in the world, if you capsize you are potentially swept a mile away from the expedition in just seconds.  It’s cold, desolate and there are the added risks of brown bears, grizzly bears and moose.  Our lads have had to go through a really tough selection test for this expedition, being physically able is only part of the criteria, they have to be mentally tough and to work as part of a tight- knit team.  That applies to carers too.  We don’t rule out lads taking part because they need a carer, like most military charities, but the carer has to qualify in their own right too.  At one point on the expedition we will be over 100 miles from a road, or any kind of transport connection!”

Setting this year’s expedition apart from previous years, Pilgrim Bandits Charity is joining forces with the EY Foundation – a new UK charity founded by EY, the professional services firm, last summer to support disadvantaged young people into education, work or enterprise. Through the Foundation 9 EY employees are paying to join the Pilgrim Bandits on an experience of a lifetime and will also fund part of the costs of the trip for our six injured soldiers. The intrepid EY Foundation 9 led by EY partner Josephine Bush, have also committed to raise money for both organisations which share the charitable aims of inspiring and encouraging young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Injured Personnel Taking Part

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, MBE – 7 Para, Doncaster,  South Yorkshire. 30 years old Ambassador Patron for the Pilgrim Bandits Charity and serving soldier.  Probably the most severely injured soldier to survive the Afghan conflict – over 40 serious wounds including loss of both legs above the knee and a severe brain injury.  Has defied all medical science to survive, to walk and talk again.

Vincent Manley, Plymouth, Devon.   45 ex Corporal in Royal Marines.  Injured in Iraq in 2006.  Completed two tours of Iraq with 40 Commando and was injured by a roadside IED whilst on a private security contract.    Champions improvements in prosthetics.

Tyler Christopher29,  Milton Keynes, Northamptonshire. Lance Corporal, 4 Rifles.  .  Injured in Afghanistan whilst on foot patrol.  Lost both legs above the knee.

Interview Opportunities

There is one final training opportunity to interview in Poole, Dorset 14th. 15th of August.  If you would like to interview any of the injured personnel taking part or receive additional information please contact me.


For additional information please contact: 

Deborah Risbridger at Pilgrim Bandits Charity. 

Tel. 01425 461600 E. media@pilgrimbandits.org.  M. 07767 784295

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