Veteran’s beach challenge raises £2,500 for charity

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A war veteran and two companions who spent 72 hours ‘shipwrecked’ on an Aberdeenshire beach have raised around £2,500 for charity.

Ex-paratrooper Lionel Holmes and his two friends camped in a makeshift shelter on a remote part of the Forvie reserve earlier this month.

Lionel, left,  and Bill start building the makeshift shelter.

Lionel, left, and Bill start building the makeshift shelter.

The fundraiser, called the Shipwreck Challenge, was organised in aid of the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

Police officer Lionel, 51, and pals Bill Turrell and Mark Allan undertook the three-day challenge on an isolated beach.

The trio took sleeping bags, food, water, a small cooker and mobile phones, in case of an emergency.

Lionel is a veteran of every conflict since the Falklands War and he used his survival instincts to look after his companions over the weekend.

He said before the fundraiser that looking after Bill and Mark would be his biggest challenge.

Lionel told the Times: “The nights did bring the weather temperature down to freezing, but the shelter was insulated with turf and grass which allowed the inside to remain a few degrees warmer.

“Bill and Mark collected enough wood from the beach to keep a fire going for two nights and it was positioned to reflect the heat to provide the shelter with a heating system.”

They built the shelter using wood, fishing nets, rope and bits of plastic washed up on the beach.

Lighting a fire was also a problem because they did without matches to add to the experience.

Lionel, a father-of-two from Newburgh, is no stranger to endurance tests.

Towards the end of 2013, he raised around £5000 for CHAS by spending 72 chilly hours on Bennachie, alone and without shelter.

CHAS officials have praised Lionel’s fundraising exploits.