Historic charity boosted by challenge in memory of soldier killed in Afghanistan

Jimmy Dexter is welcomed by family, friends and supporters at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft.

Jimmy Dexter is welcomed by family, friends and supporters at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

A unique charity that has supported ex-members of the armed, merchant and emergency services for generations has been boosted by the "inspirational" efforts of a former Grenadier Guard.

Jimmy Dexter approaching the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft.

Jimmy Dexter approaching the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Throughout October, Jimmy Dexter has taken on a gruelling challenge of running an average of 14.75 miles per day - a total distance of 457 miles -  in memory of the 457 UK service personnel killed during the Afghan war.

Jimmy Dexter celebrates with his daughter after arriving at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft.

Jimmy Dexter celebrates with his daughter after arriving at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

And on Sunday, October 31, cheers and huge applause echoed out along Lowestoft seafront as Mr Dexter completed the run as he finished at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre.

It was a fitting end to the challenge, as he arrived at one of Lowestoft's most historic hotels - which he is supporting through fundraising and "raising the profile" of the charity.

Thumbs up from Jimmy Dexter and his daughter after arriving at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft.

Thumbs up from Jimmy Dexter and his daughter after arriving at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

As well as remembering the men and woman who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, it was also particularly poignant for Mr Dexter as he arrived in Lowestoft.

He was met at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre on Kirkley Cliff, Lowestoft by Duane Ashworth, chairman of the management committee.

Lance Corporal James Ashworth VC

Lance Corporal James Ashworth VC. - Credit: The Ashworth family/Mick Howes

Mr Ashworth's son Grenadier Guard James Ashworth was killed in Afghanistan nine years ago.

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Jimmy had served with Lance Corporal James Ashworth VC, who was posthumously awarded the highest military honour - the Victoria Cross - after he was killed in a Taliban firefight in 2012.

After completing the challenge in honour of his friend James Ashworth VC, and supporting the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre, Mr Dexter said: "It is very poignant to finish here.

Jimmy Dexter children at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft.

Jimmy Dexter with his children at the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

"But this is what I wanted - to finish it here.

"The welcome they provide for all members of the forces/emergency services and veterans community is outstanding.

"It has been tough, but it has all been done for the charity. Raising the profile is just as important as raising any money.

"It's always worth it, as long as it helps one person - that is the aim."

Hoping to raise £3,000, the total is almost at £4,000 now "well over what we expected," according to Mr Dexter.

But given the history of the building, it needs significant improvements - with adaptations including wheelchair lifts and wetroom facilities in the bathrooms so guests with disabilities can continue to visit.

Lance Corporal James Ashworth VC and his father Duane Ashworth.

Lance Corporal James Ashworth VC and his father Duane Ashworth. - Credit: The Ashworth family/Mick Howes

With a picture of Lance Corporal James Ashworth VC watching over those visiting the Memorial Holiday Centre, Duane Ashworth said: "It is a massive achievement.

"His mum and dad, family and friends are all here to welcome him back - along with friends of James - Jimmy is so inspirational."

You can donate here to the 457-mile challenge.

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