Stockton dental nurse tabs 100 miles with 25kg of kit in memory of Fusilier brother who tragically took his own life

L/Cpl Ben Tudhope tragically took his own life last year.L/Cpl Ben Tudhope tragically took his own life last year.
L/Cpl Ben Tudhope tragically took his own life last year.
Libby has already exceeded her fundraising target by more than 1,000 per cent

A Stockton woman has walked 100 miles carrying 25kg of kit this month to raise money for a veterans' charity in honour of her brother, who tragically took his own life last year.

Ben Tudhope, from Stockton, had always wanted to join the army - and he realised his dream in 2016 when he signed up, passed his training and joined First Battalion the Royal Fusiliers.

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His military career was going well - he transferred to the mortar platoon and in July last year he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

L/Cpl Ben Tudhope.L/Cpl Ben Tudhope.
L/Cpl Ben Tudhope.

He then went on leave and, aged 24, tragically took his own life - not long after a friend in the regiment had done the same.

Military colleagues described L/Cpl Tudhope as a popular soldier with an infectiously positive presence and a proud Fusilier and Mortarman.

"He was a great soldier and a really nice person. Lots of people in Stockton knew him too," said older sister Libby Tudhope.

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Six months after losing her brother, Libby decided she wanted to do something to raise funds for a veterans' charity in her brother's honour.

Libby (centre) on one of the fundraising tabs.Libby (centre) on one of the fundraising tabs.
Libby (centre) on one of the fundraising tabs.

"I wanted to pick something that was going to be a real challenge for me," she said.

With no previous training she elected to tab 100 miles through March, carrying 25kg of kit comprising her brother's tactical vest and a day sack weighted to 15kg.

The dental nurse said the tabs were exceptionally difficult.

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25kg is the standard weight an infantry soldier is expected to carry on eight-mile timed marches, known as CFTs in the army.

Libby said: "I had so much support from people - so many donated and there were people wanting to come on walks with me."

The fundraising target had been set at £500 - but generous supporters have seen that target exceeded by more than 1,000 per cent - donating £5,380 so far.

Libby said another benefit of the campaign has been raising awareness of suicide.

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She said: "I had someone in the pub tell me they'd tried to take their own life last year - and a close friend said, 'you didn't even tell me about that'.

"I think doing things like this makes people feel like they can talk - even if it's to stranger.

"Sadly, in the army there seems to be a culture of 'man-up' instead of talking about problems. The army says they are doing things to change that but clearly there is still a problem."

All funds raised will be going to the Head Up Charity, which is run by veterans and is developing a seven-day mental health retreat for serving members of the armed forces and veterans.

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The fundraiser is still open, and you can donate by following this link: bit.ly/3iCMIrTIf you are struggling with thoughts of suicide you can contact Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123.

If you have served or are currently serving in the UK Armed Forces, you can call the Combat Stress’ 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 138 1619.

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