The Royal British Legion
Henley-on-Thames & Peppard Branch ~ BR0753
Cbairman John Green - A Trek in the Simien Highlands of Ethiopia raising over £3000 for the Poppy Appeal
John Green, Chair of the Henley & Peppard Branch of the Royal British Legion undertook a 10 day trek in the Simien Highlands in Ethiopia to raise money for the Poppy Appeal. Most of the trek was above 10,000 ft and he hoped to reach the highest mountain Ras Dashen at 15,000 fit but managed to scale to the summit of Bwahit at 14,600ft. John, no stranger to trek challenges, was invited by Rebecca Stephens MBE, the first woman to climb Everest, if he would like to join the group. John leapt as the chance and so began his biggest challenge.
The timing of the trip was difficult for John as it meant he would miss both the Remembrance Sunday service and the Armistice Day events in Henley. However, John stopped the walkers to observe the two-minutes silence to remember the fallen. After the trek John visited 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. John’s own regiment, the Sherwood Foresters, merged with the Worcestershire Regiment in 1970.
On entering the National Park, sleeping under canvas and with the guides helping to carry the baggage, John endured three days of 10 hour treks both up and down hill. On one day descending 1800 metres down narrow rock strewn tracks requiring great concentration. On another, avoiding a swollen river after a lot of rainfall, added 4 hours to their trek before arriving at the camp just before dark.John loved the wonderful sights of Lake Tana and the Blue Nile Falls, the Highland’s majestic beauty abounding with rare wildlife such as the rare mountain Ibex Colourful bird life and many families of baboons. John said he was surprised to see the lush green lowlands tilled by ox-drawn wooden ploughs and grain reaped by sickle as in Biblical times. “The people despite much poverty are welcoming and do not hesitate to invite you into their humble dwellings to make what must be the best coffee in the world. Though losing 3 kilos in weight on what he called “an unforgettable experience”, john is delighted that with the help of many friends and supporters it has helped to raise over £3000 for the Poppy Appeal to help those damaged mentally and physically by war and unable to have the life that most of us enjoy.