Support an April Fool

On 1 Apr 2010 Lt Cdr Colin Nicklas (a former coach of RN U21, RN Women and Ancient Mariners) will be flying to Morocco to take on the ultimate endurance challenge of the 25th Anniversary edition of the Marathon des Sables (MdS).  Despite the obvious attractions of the event, his main aim is to raise much needed funds for Children's Hospice South West and their Precious Lives Appeal.  Billed as the "world's toughest foot race", this year the MdS organisers have increased the distance to 250km, completed in 6 stages spread over 7 days.  Competitors are self sufficient for the period of the race (carrying 7 days of food and other essential kit), although the organisers provide a shelter to sleep under and supply plenty of water.  Daytime temperatures average 40°C and can reach as high as 50°C, with night-time temperatures frequently below 10°C.  To add a little extra spice, Colin will be competing on a broken ankle (following an injury from last summer that was only diagnosed a few weeks ago!), which has hindered his training and will mean he will have to walk a lot more than he originally intended.  Hopefully he can stay ahead of the camels and avoid disqualification!

Children's Hospice South West is the only hospice organisation in the South West of England providing care and support to families of children with life-limiting illnesses and their services have been used by a number of West Country Naval families over recent years.  The existing centres are at Barnstable in North Devon and Wroxall near Bristol and the Precious Lives Appeal aims to fund a third hospice in St Austell, South East Cornwall, which is scheduled to open in 2011.

To make the inevitable suffering all worthwhile, Colin is hoping to raise as much money as possible (currently he has just over £3000 to give to the charity) and has been shamelessly appealing to anyone he has even the loosest connection with in the hope they will contribute in some small way.  As many of you would expect, there is a "Just Giving" page; and for those who prefer more traditional methods there is a collection tin on his desk at the MOD Main Building.

Image courtesy of