‘Not enough is done for the guys and girls who slip through the cracks’: Former platoon sergeant fundraises for charity which helps veterans

PUBLISHED: 08:40 30 November 2018

Elliot was a platoon sergeant in Iraq. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Elliot was a platoon sergeant in Iraq. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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An army veteran and father-of-two who served in Iraq and met Prince Harry, swam 20 kilometres in 11 hours at a Dunmow gym for charity.

Elliot ran the London Marathon in April this year. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDElliot ran the London Marathon in April this year. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Elliott Ellerbeck, 42, swam 800 lengths over the course of 10 hours and 40 minutes, with no rest or food, at the Great Dunmow Leisure Centre on November 18.

The swim has raised £800 and still counting for Walking With The Wounded, a charity which helps armed forces veterans to find jobs.

Elliott who lives in Dunmow and joined the military at 19, said: “I was one of the fortunate ones who didn’t require assistance from charities when I left the army. Not enough is done for the guys and girls who, unfortunately, do seem to slip through the cracks in society. They do have the tendency to fall into hardship and into criminality. It’s important for me to do what I can to try to reverse that.”

Elliott added: “People don’t fully understand the hardship of going to war and experiencing some of the atrocities they have been through. I have been there myself... it’s difficult. Not being able to deal with that and communicate effectively, people feel there’s nowhere to go.”

Prince Harry (centre) met Elliot (third from the left) and other veterans at a thousand mile walk for Walking with the Wounded. Picture: WALKING WITH THE WOUNDEDPrince Harry (centre) met Elliot (third from the left) and other veterans at a thousand mile walk for Walking with the Wounded. Picture: WALKING WITH THE WOUNDED

Elliott met Prince Harry two years ago when he took part in a 1,000-mile walk for the charity, which finished at Buckingham Palace.

Waiting in the palace grounds, Elliott and fellow veterans played American football, with a ball they had been given by the NFL.

Elliott, who was a platoon sergeant, said: “It was just a surreal moment, tossing an American football around in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.”

Elliott patrolled the streets of Northern Ireland in the 1990s.

He said: “There were still things going on in Ireland...we did our jobs with the upmost proficiency and professionalism.”

Last year, Elliott, now a project manager, lost five stone in eight months and competed in the London Marathon for Walking With The Wounded, cheered on by his children Ellie, 10 and Owen, six.

For most, the thought of diving back in a pool after more than 10 hours of almost continuous swimming would be unappealing, however at the weekend, Elliott took his children swimming.

So far, Elliott’s swim has raised more than £800 for Walking with the Wounded. You can donate at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=ElliottEllerbeck&pageUrl=1.

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