Watton mum completes walk in memory of RAF gunner son

Ellise Owen (right) and friend Helen Swain (left) at the finish line of the 100 mile Nijmegen March

Ellise Owen (right) and friend Helen Swain (left) at the finish line of the 100 mile Nijmegen March in Holland with their medals. They completed the walk in memory of Ellise's son Warren who died aged 18 in a motorbike crash. - Credit: Archant

RAF gunner Warren Owen always planned to walk the Nijmegen March in Holland, but he was killed in a motorbike crash just weeks before he was due to take part.

But now a medal from this year's march takes pride of place in his old bedroom - thanks to his mum.

Ellise Owen, who lives in Toftwood, walked the 100 miles last week in blistering 39 degree heat alongside 46,000 participants from around the world.

She decided to take on the challenge to raise money for Warren's beloved Dereham Air Cadets and the Royal British Legion. After several years in the cadets Warren had just joined the RAF and had trained to become a Leading Aircraftman in 27 Squadron RAF Regiment based at RAF Honington. He died on May 26, 2012, after his bike came off the A1075 at Griston, near Watton. He was just 18.

Mrs Owen, a PE teacher at Watton Junior School, was joined by best friend Helen Swain on the four-day trek which saw them chaperone a group of teenagers across the finish line as well.

You may also want to watch:

'We were put in touch with the British-Dutch Walking Association to make sure we both got places on the march,' she said. 'But when we got there the person in charge of one of their groups was not really up to it so we were asked to take control. We all had to stay together in a group which was not easy with a load of teenagers but we got them over the line.'

She added that they were given earlier start times to give them longer to complete the 25 miles a day allowing for more rest stops and drinks to cope with the intense heat.

Most Read

'If it had been one degree hotter they would have called it off,' she said.

It was a very emotional experience though, she said, but it only really sunk in once they were leaving.

'We were getting on the bus and it hit me and I just cried and cried. I like to think Warren would be proud, but also would have laughed at us managing a load of hormonal teenagers across the line. When I got home I took the medal into his room and said, 'here you are, this is yours, I got your medal for you'.

Mrs Owen, who has two other children Willow, five, and Finnlay, three, with husband John, has almost reached the £2000 fund-raising mark but her online donation site is open for around another eight weeks.

Anyone wanting to donate can visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/walkingforwarren.

Are you raising money in memory of a loved one? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus