World’s first unsupported crossing of the Greenland ice cap by an amputee

Raid 17 – The Team

Jonathan Thomson

Jonathan 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 Hawes

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). 

Chris was medically discharged in 2005 due to ongoing issues with his leg. Several years of constant pain, failed surgery and treatment left Chris suffering with depression as he was unable to participate in simple activities such as playing with his children or walking the dog.
 
In 2011 he made the decision to have his leg amputated above knee and has no regrets. He is now pain free and has a much better quality of life.
 
Chris is looking forward to this challenge, which will be his biggest to date, and will be using a handbike to complete the 800km journey.
Jason Gillespie

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. 

Carl Anstey
Carl joined the British Army in March 2007 and was subsequently posted to the 1st Battalion The Rifles later that year. After successful completion of the infantry sniper course and jungle warfare training in Belize, he deployed to Afghanistan in September 2008. 
 
During this tour, on the 30th of January, Carl was involved in an explosion which killed two people and significantly damaged his entire right leg.He spent the next four and a half years undergoing numerous operations and intensive rehabilitation at Headley Court. Carl was medically discharged from the military at the end of 2013.
 
During his rehabilitation period, he was part of a successful expedition that rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in 2011 and is looking forward to this new challenge. Carl is currently studying for a degree in Physiotherapy at Bournemouth University, which he is due to complete in May 2017.
Jamie Craik

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 Parsons

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 Orange

Sally joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1998 whilst studying at University to become a Physiotherapist.

She has always had an interest in adventurous training and the challenges it presents, and considers herself extremely fortunate to have participated in expeditions including mountaineering in Bolivia, Nepal and Africa, diving in Egypt and the Maldives, Kayaking in France and Canada as well as skiing in New Zealand and numerous place in Europe.
 
Sally deployed on Operation Herrick 13 in 2011 and has played a part in the recovery and ongoing rehabilitation of countless severely traumatically injured personnel over her 17 year career.
 
When diagnosed with her own illness, Sally drew inspiration from those she had treated and made the decision not to let this define her.  She has gone on to raise several thousands of pounds for various military charities by completing 3 Ironman triathlons, cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats, she was a member of the first all female team to complete the Arch to Arc Triathlon which involved running 87 miles from Marble Arch to Dover, swimming the English Channel and then cycling from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe. She has also completed the gruelling Marathon des Sables and has the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon dressed as a piece of fruit. She won’t be dressing as any fruit on Raid 17 though….or will she?!!
 
Anthony Matthews

Anthony joined the Royal Marines in 1993. He served at 40 and 45 Commando and finally at Commando Logistics Regiment. He took part in various tours both operational and training.

In 2000 Anthony was deployed to Kosovo on peacekeeping duties. It was here, in a vehicle accident, that he sustained a broken back resulting in him receiving treatment at Headley Court and finally a Medical Discharge in 2004. 

Anthony is looking forward to the challenge that Raid 17 presents; it is an opportunity to prove himself amongst extraordinary people. 

 

Jez Scarratt

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 McCormack

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.

Damian Barrett
Damian joined the Royal Marines in May 2000 and reached the rank of Colour Sergeant, after gaining the coveted green beret he joined 43 Commando in Scotland before completing his Assault Engineer’s career course in 2003. This specialisation would see Damian enjoy a wide variety of roles within the Royal Marines, allowing him drafts to all Commando Units within 3 Commando Brigade and undertaking a broad spectrum of tasks across a range of environments from Iraq to Afghanistan. 

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.

Micky

Micky joined the 1st Battalion the Royal Green Jackets in 2006 and served in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan. In September 2012 he was involved in an incident during operational service in Afghanistan. Micky was in close proximity to a blast which resulted in him suffering from noise induced hearing loss and he was medically discharged a short time later.

Micky went through some dark times when he struggled to come to terms with losing the career he loved. He has since retrained and built a new career and business for himself.

Raid 17 has given Micky the motivation to keep going. He is looking forward to being part of a team again and completing this arduous challenge which will set the marker for future goals.

Duncan

Duncan joined the Royal Marines in October 1995 and after successfully passing UK Special Forces selection in Jan 2003 he went on to join the highly respected Special Boat Service (SBS). During this time he served on many counter terrorism related duties and numerous operational tours overseas.

 On the last of these tours he was leading a large convoy of vehicles when his own vehicle struck an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Duncan sustained shrapnel wounds and several broken bones in his left arm and leg that healed after surgery. However it then transpired that damage had occurred to two ligaments in his left knee, this eventually led to his medical discharge in April 2012.

 Duncan now lives in Scotland where he is training to become a Paramedic and also studying towards a master’s degree in Terrorism and Political Violence with St Andrews University. He has always been a very keen cyclist and is now relishing the opportunity to return to the Pyrenees where he previously completed the Etape du Tour in 2012. This time he will do so to raise funds for Poppyscotland by taking part in the Raid 17 Challenge.

Chris
Wil

Wil joined the Guards Depot, Pirbright in January 1990 subsequently passed basic training as a Junior Guardsman and was posted to the Scots Guards, initially joining the 2nd Battalion then the 1st on amalgamation in 1993. 

He has served in various locations throughout Great Britain and overseas including Northern Ireland, Sierra Leon and Afghanistan. Completed several overseas exercises also. 

He has completed the Infantry Platoon Sergeants Battle Course has been an instructor at the Infantry Training Centre, a sniper and various other military qualifications. 

Wil was diagnosed in 2016 with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome which resulted in poor blood supply to the left arm resulting in an elective amputation of the left hand and part of the forearm. It was either that or pain and pills which would’ve resulted the same way. This was done after a great deal of thought as Wil is still currently a serving CSgt in 1SG. He has undergone surgery also to remove bilateral cervical ribs and is monitored currently every six months for any changes to his condition. He has limited range of movement above shoulder level due to problems with arteries.  Wil is keen on outdoor activities in particularly cycling in both mountain and road disciplines. He was back on a mountain bike 3 weeks after amputation!  

His belief is ability over disability and he has dedicated this year to practising just that. He will be raising money for the Scots Guards Colonels fund. 

Michael
Lee
Dave
Dr Meinir Jones

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.

Richard Morgan

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 led an unsupported team to climb Mt Vinson, Antarctica’s highest peak.