84-year-old John Takes on African Mountain Challenge for Poppy Appeal

John Green, Chairman of the Royal British Legion Henley-on-Thames & Peppard Branch is in Africa on a challenging trek through the Semien Mountains in the Ethiopian Highlands in aid of the Poppy Appeal. The main aim will be to reach the summit of Ras Dashen, the highest mountain in Ethiopia at 14,930 feet. 84-year-old John will be with a group of walkers led by Rebecca Stephens MBE, the first British woman to climb Mount Everest and the Seven Summits.

For more than 25 years John has raised funds for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal through various arduous hikes including Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk, the UK 3Peaks and treks in Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. Last year he was awarded the Henley town medal for his fundraising efforts. To train for Ethiopia he extended his usual daily walk, finally climbing uphill with 25lbs of bricks in his rucksack. On alternate days he also swam in the pool at the new fitness centre in Phyllis Court Club.

John said, “I won’t be present at Remembrance in Henley for the first time in many years because of the timing of the trek. This was a concern, but it’ll now give an opportunity for the young cadets to get more involved in the formalities of the service I usually undertake, which will build good links for the future and I’ll be raising money for the same cause.

“It’s a tough trip. Of course, some think I’m completely mad to do this at my age, but hopefully people will donate to the Poppy Appeal even if they think that a silly old fool shouldn’t be doing this. I’m lucky to be in good health, and I’m truly excited about having the privilege to travel somewhere that people rarely go, and to see some breath-taking landscapes while raising funds for a cause I’m deeply passionate about.

“I will also visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery just outside Addis Ababa to lay a memorial cross on the grave of Warrant Officer John Dodd of the Worcestershire Regiment who died in 1944. My own regiment, the Sherwood Foresters, merged with the Worcestershire Regiment in 1970.”

On 20 January next year John will talk about his adventure, ‘A Hill Too Far’, at the first monthly RBL Branch meeting of 2020, at 11:30 am in the Christ Church Centre on Reading Road, Henley.

If you would like to support John in his inspiring adventure, please go to his JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/john-green48