Two men set off on dander to make a difference for veterans in NI

A pair of Northern Ireland men set off on a ‘dander’ today which will see them cover 430 miles in 12 days.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 12:56 pm
Ian Reid and Connor Ferguson with Veterans Commissioner for Northern Ireland Danny Kinahan and Beyond the Battlefield chief executive Anne-Marie Hastings

Connor Ferguson and his brother-in-law Ian Reid from east Belfast have set themselves the target of raising £10,000 through the intense walking challenge with all proceeds going to a charity which supports veterans and their families.

They’ve called it ‘A Big Dander Around Our Wee Country’ and they were more than halfway towards their target before a step had been made.

They set off this morning from Stormont with a thumbs up from Veterans Commissioner for Northern Ireland Danny Kinahan.

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Connor Ferguson and Ian Reid are walking around the whole of Northern Ireland in 12 days to raise support for Ards charity Beyond the Battlefield and those battling PTSD and mental health issues.

He said: “Delighted to join Ian and Connor on their Big Dander as they set off for a 12-day, 430 miles walk around NI to raise funds for local veterans.”

Connor, who served four years with the Royal Irish and 12 with reserve forces, now works as a postman. He said he wanted to do something to help the charity because it has supported friends of his and their families over the years.

Beyond The Battlefield charity supports local veteran communities and their families with a particular focus on helping individuals with PTSD. It also supports associated problems including alcohol/drug abuse, domestic violence, relationship and financial difficulties, stress, trauma, self harm, suicide and bereavement.

Connor said: “During lockdown we decided we wanted to do something extraordinary that we can remember for the rest of our lives.

“I know six or seven veterans with PTSD that Beyond the Battlefield has helped during lockdown. The work they do is excellent and literally saves so many lives.

“Although we recently got our own Veterans Commissioner, the level of support for veterans in Northern Ireland falls so far behind what is available in GB.

“All services provided from Beyond the Battlefield are delivered by volunteers. This motivates us to endeavour to raise as much funds as possible to enable such vital services to continue.”

To make the next 12 days even more difficult the dander will become a hike during the third day in the Mournes when they’ve set themselves a seven peak challenge.

They added: “We hope that undertaking this challenge will help to raise awareness and much needed funds for Beyond the Battlefield.

“A unique element of this challenge is that we have planned it to coincide with the centenary of Northern Ireland and the 10th birthday of Beyond the Battlefield NI.

To support Ian and Connor’s charitable cause text ‘dander’ to 70450. Donations can also be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abigdanderaroundowc

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