Jonathan Thomson joined the Royal Marines in September 1963 and retired in April 1998. He competed in two World Orienteering Championships, ran the first London Marathon and commanded: a rifle troop, a rifle company, the Special Boat Squadron, 45 Commando Royal Marines and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.
Jonathan spent 16 years in business, from which he finally retired in May 2015. He works for The Royal Trinity Hospice as a Volunteer and is a keen supporter of activities that give opportunity to people of all ages.
Jonathan is the organiser of Raid 17.
Chris joined the Royal Air Force in 1998 as a Ground Support Equipment Electrician. An accident during a PT lesson resulted in serious trauma to his left leg and left Chris suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
Jason joined the 1st Battalion of the 22nd Cheshire regiment in 2007 aged 17. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 on Herrick 12. During this long, very busy and difficult tour Jason sustained injuries and had to be medically evacuated.
In 2013 Jason was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) soon after being medically discharged due to his injuries. He continues to have treatment but, after a long and slow process, feels that he is finally moving in the right direction.
Cycling has become a big part of Jason’s life both physically and mentally. He wants to show others that, despite the challenges he faces, it is possible to use the things that have altered his life and turn them into positives.
Jamie joined the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) in July 1996 at the age of 18. Upon completion of training he was posted to Omagh, Northern Ireland.
Throughout his career Jamie has deployed on numerous Operational Tours and has been employed in many locations, units, jobs and roles, reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class One. In 2011 he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal for 15 years exemplary service.
An advocate of adventurous training and sport within the British Army, Jamie regularly organised triathlon and cycling events, as well as sport tours in the UK and abroad. It was on one of these sport tours abroad when disaster struck.
Jamie was struck head on by a 4×4 vehicle whilst descending at 40 mph from Lofou to Kouris Dam. He was flown home as a casualty to be later diagnosed with severe traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, fractured vertebrae’s, PTSD, anxiety and depression.
Despite his injuries Jamie believes that positive outcomes can, and will impact on his future and is delighted to be given the opportunity to overcome adversity and return to a sport he loves!
Pat served in the Royal Marines from 1974 to 2006 and saw operational service in Northern Ireland, The Balkans and Iraq. Specialising as a Mountain Leader he commanded the Mountain & Arctic Warfare Cadre from 1988 to 1991. As a passionate mountaineer & skier, Pat has climbed extensively around the world including expeditions to Everest, Mt McKinley, Kilimanjaro and Antarctica.
In 2008 he suffered a serious climbing accident resulting in a spinal injury and consequent permanent partial paralysis to feet and legs.
Since then Pat has channelled his energies into new activities; sea kayaking, motor biking and most recently cycling are all ‘sitting’ activities that have proved equally as rewarding and fulfilling as mountaineering and consequently have enhanced the recovery process. This is why Pat is so committed to RAID 17 because he believes in the power of new challenges as recovery milestones.
Pat is an International Mountain Leader and a member of the Derby Mountain Rescue Team.
Sally joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1998 whilst studying at University to become a Physiotherapist.
Jaco was born in South Africa but moved to the UK in 2006 aged 20 with the sole intention of joining the British Armed Forces. By mid 2007 Jaco had completed his basic training and joined the well respected Parachute Regiment.
During his second tour of Afghanistan, after 5 and a half months and with just 2 weeks to go, Jaco sustained severe life changing injuries. The injuries included the loss of his left arm at the elbow, collapsed left lung, shrapnel wounds to left side, punctured internal organs, blast wounds to left upper thigh, broken tibia and fractured knee.
He has since learnt how to ski, completed several marathons all over the world, climbed mountains, and in 2013 he was selected for the Paralympic Development Team and worked his way up to the Paralympic Academy Team and as a full time cyclist with British Cycling.
Through intense rehabilitation and determination Jaco has overcome adversity and continues to seek new challenges, whilst motivating others to take opportunities to improve their own lives.
Jez joined the Royal Marines in 1975. He served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Belize.
In 1982 he lost a leg in a road traffic accident and was medically discharged in 1990.
Cycling has always been part of his life and he has competed since 1994 in road and off road endurance racing.
Jez has completed many 24 hour solo mountain bikes races.
He has also competed in the infamous Bc Bike and TransRockies race in Canada.
Since losing his leg Jez has re-learnt how to ski, and has also taken up free fall parachuting.
He now looks forward to working again as a team in this epic challenge…
Ian joined the Royal Marines in 2003. After successfully completing Commando Training he went on to enjoy a varied career, serving in several countries around the world including Norway and Afghanistan.
The last 5 years of Ian’s career have been hampered through illness and injury. In 2011 he ruptured the ligaments in his ankle and had a partial rupture to the tendon in his arm. After rehabilitation, he returned to full fitness but six months later Ian became infected with salmonella poisoning whilst serving at 30 Cdo in 2014. This triggered a condition called Reactive Arthritis, causing severe inflammation and pain to multiple joints within his body, lethargy, constant conjunctivitis, and ulcers. Simple tasks such as walking, dressing, and using a knife and fork were extremely difficult.
The medication he was prescribed had numerous unwanted side effects and, unable to continue with the career and active lifestyle he enjoyed, Ian became withdrawn.
He was assigned to Hasler NSRC (Naval Service Recovery Centre) and has made huge strides both physically and mentally. Despite still suffering with restricted movement and painful joints Ian relishes the challenge ahead and believes that completing Raid 17 will be a defining point in his recovery.
It was just after Damian had returned from his last operational tour to Afghanistan in 2013 that he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon and rectum. After a long battle with the disease it was decided that Damian had become non-responsive to medical treatment and an emergency procedure to remove the large bowel in 2015 as the best course of action, resulting in an ileostomy. Further surgery in two phases took place in 2016, the procedure aimed to restore an element of functionality, remove the stoma bag and provide control.
Damian is immensely looking forward to the challenge as this is an opportunity of a lifetime not only to do extraordinary things with extraordinary people, but to highlight the impact invisible illnesses have and how he has overcome the challenges faced since diagnosis.
Meinir is a GP with an interest in Sports and Musculoskeletal Medicine. She draws on a wealth of knowledge, coming from 8 years’ experience in emergency and trauma medicine in Australia, United Kingdom and Ireland.
Affectionately known within the team as MJ, she was chosen as the Medic for Team Wales at the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010, she looked after both able-bodied and disabled athletes for 4 years post Delhi.
More recently MJ was the doctor for the successful Greenland crossing for Pete Bowker and the Team of 65DN in May 2015.
She continues her support for 65DN in their next expedition to conquer Antarctica’s Mount Vinson.
Rich is a former Royal Marine Commando, who served at 40 Commando amongst other units, he went on several deployments, was trained in desert warfare and survival. He later deployed to Norway where he took tuition on all aspects of Arctic, cold weather warfare and survival techniques, which to this day he values.
Rich has international honours as a canoeist and is a keen diver. He led Heroes Challenge UK; a UK endurance record that set a British first; an endurance record completed over 10 days. He went on to lead the five-week expedition that saw Peter Bowker become the ‘First Amputee’ to cross the Greenland ice cap unsupported!
Rich has since led an expedition to summit Mount Kilimanjaro and achieved full team summit success and in January 2017 he will lead an unsupported team to climb Mt Vinson, Antarctica’s highest peak.