Leamington man returns home as part of his grueling fundraising mission to help get armed forces veterans back into work

Robin Hood is towing a 15-stone statue of a Second World War soldier on a cart from Dumfries in Scotland where he now lives, for more than 200 miles to his grandfather's First World War grave at Yardley Cemetary in Birmingham and collecting donations along the way

Monday, 21st June 2021, 1:16 pm
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 1:37 pm

A former Leamington man has returned to the town as part of his grueling fundraising challenge to raise money in support of military veterans.

Robin Hood who was an army reservist officer for 35 years and will soon be 65, is towing a 15-stone statue of a Second World War soldier on a cart from Dumfries in Scotland where he now lives, for more than 200 miles to his grandfather's First World War grave at Yardley Cemetery in Birmingham and collecting donations along the way to raise money for Southwest Scotland RNR.

The charity was founded in 2008 but Robin took over as its CEO in 2016 and says he was motivated to drive it forward after his son, a Royal Marine for 14 years, struggled to get into work when he left the army.

Robin Hood with the statue at the Leamington War Memorial

One of the support services the charity provides is to help veterans like Robin's son gain a HGV driver's licence.

"I wanted to help my son and then I have served with that many soldiers who don't prepare for leaving the army that I wanted to make a difference in that regard too," he said.

"Many of them are told what to do every day and follow orders.

"They have the camaraderie, respect from the public and an income but when they leave the armed forces it can be a slippery slope for them.

"I like helping people when I can, I don't get paid an awful lot but my job satisfaction is amazing."

Robin's fundraising efforts are spurred on by the memory of his daughter Alex, a former Telford School and North Leamington School pupil.

Alex was diagnosed with the horrific skin disease dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (EB) shortly after she was born in 1989.

She died aged just 19 and during her life and after it Robin fundraised and worked for the charity DEBRA which funds research into the disease.

Having started out by running a marathon in Scotland in 1994 while pushing five-year-old Alex in a pushchair for the whole route, Robin has since taken part in hundreds of events - including the London Marathon in 2001, pulling his daughter along in a supermarket trolley, and a 50-mile event in Ireland, pulling along another little boy with EB in the same unusual fashion.

Having left Debra and started working and fundraising for Southwest Scotland RNR, Robin has towed a 20 stone statue of a Scottish First World War soldier from Dumfries to London and Jon O'Groats to Dumfries covering more than 1,000 miles and raising tens of thousands of pounds for the cause.

Robin, who suffered PTSD after a training exercise accident in 1992 left him with a back injury and a blood clot to the brain, said the charity has helped to get 56 veterans into civilian work but he is aiming for it to do the same for 2,000 a year.

He said: "Because of Alex's life I never moan.

"She always said if I don't like something get off backside and change it.

"She set a yardstick for me and made me a different person."

Robin collected donartions at the statue of Queen Victoria in Leamington town centre last Tuesday (June 15) and in Warwick town centre last Wednesday (June 16)

All donations go to the cause as Robin's salary is is paid by the Veterans' Foundation.