Major Mark Bevin,
Officer Commanding, Operations Company, Sector 2, UN Peacekeeping Force
in Cyprus, from April to October 2011 writes:
Soldiers from the 3 Royal Anglian Group based at Ledra Place Hotel
have lived and worked in the UN Buffer Zone for the last 6 months. Whilst
there we decided that, as our tour came to an end, we should take the
opportunity to raise some money for charity. We chose 2 charities: the
ABF “The Soldiers Charity” and one other. Nicosia had been
our home for the last 6 months, so we thought it would be right to give
something back before we left, when I heard about all the great work
done by Rosie and the team at “Cans for Kids” it was clear
to us this was the charity we wanted to help.
Soldiers really come into their own when challenged, so it was decided
to cover the distance between our home and the home of the UN, and the
“New York to Nicosia Challenge” was born. As UN soldiers,
their job is to ensure the Buffer Zone is patrolled 24 hours a day and
7 days a week, so the challenge would be to achieve the distance in
their own time, using real miles or miles done on the equipment in the
Gym. The distance is just less than 9000 km and a target of 1 week was
set. The soldiers would get sponsors from back in the UK or from the
UN community, and, to raise even more cash, we would also have a “Grand
Auction” at the end of the challenge. The soldiers were divided
into several teams; they then competed against each other to see which
team could complete their share of the distance first. In the end they
got a bit carried away and covered over 10,300 km! There were also some
amazing individual efforts, one soldier ran the 220km length of the
Buffer Zone in 47 hours 57 minutes, and this broke the previous record
by 3 hours. In the end the total cash raised was just over €4500,
with half being given to each charity.
I am also proud to say, that - apart from raising much need cash for
the “Cans For Kids” project, UN soldiers also gave up some
of their free time to help out sorting cans and preparing them for crushing
and selling to the recycling companies.
Now that we have established a relationship with Cans For Kids and introduced
them to our replacements at the UN, we hope the good work will continue
long after we have left.
Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank Rosie and the Cans
For Kids team; it was a privilege to work with them, and we wish them
all the best for the future - they deserve it.
Major Mark Bevin presents Rosie Charalambous with the
cheque from the New York to Nicosia Challenge; and receives a token
of appreciation in return - the first piece of "Regimental aluminium"!