Generous soldier fulfils gruelling challenge to honour fallen troops and raise Chelsea Pensioner cash

A serving soldier who carried out a gruelling ‘reps to remember’ challenge in Kabul met the Chelsea Pensioners he fundraised for this week.

Staff Sergeant Stephen Hughes completed the charity challenge to raise £5,000, which saw him complete 20 punishing physical challenges 453 times.

The epic exercise marked the 453 British soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan, and the 20 operational tours of the region by British Forces.

Stephen, 27, said: “The ‘Reps to Remember’ challenges were extremely tough – far harder than I had anticipated.

“Thinking about the Chelsea Pensioners at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where my comrades and I may live in our retirement and the 453 service personnel who sadly lost their lives in Afghanistan definitely got me through it.

“I’m really pleased that 240 people were moved to donate to this great cause.”

Stephen, who currently serves in the Royal Physical Training Corps (RAPTC), completed his 20 days marathon of reps late last year.

The reps included pulling a 100kg sledge for 4.53km, and completing squats, lunges and press ups not only 453 times, but with 40kg weights.

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Kate Marsh, fundraising manager at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, said: “Now that Stephen has completed these challenges we are even more in awe of his efforts than we were before.

“He is a true inspiration and we are delighted that the public got behind him to very nearly reach his target of £5,000 for the Royal Hospital Chelsea.”

Generous Stephen, from Swansea, pledged £2,500 of his own money if he did not make the target total of £5,000.

To date he has raised £4,734 and donations to honour his herculean undertaking are still being accepted here.

Stephen said: “I have chosen to raise money for the Royal Hospital Chelsea because as we leave Afghanistan myself and my comrades undoubtedly want the option of becoming Chelsea Pensioners ourselves in years to come.

“I came up with ‘Reps to Remember’ because I believe that we need to support the Royal Hospital Chelsea so that it in turn can support present and future combat troops for another 300 years.”

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