Welwyn Garden City man takes on emotional challenge in honour of veteran grandfather
A Welwyn Garden City man is risking his toenails falling off during a poignant challenge in honour of his veteran grandfather.
Steve Bish, 58, of Applecroft Road, is taking part in the 100km Frontline walk across the WW1 battlefields of France and Belgium in honour of his veteran grandfather, William Bish.
The challenge is both physically and emotionally tough as you follow in the footsteps of those who fought 100 years ago on the Western Front and walk along the major battle sites which played such a big part in shaping Britain and Europe as we know it today.
Steve’s grandfather was born in 1886 and joined the army at 18 years old, enlisting in the Sherwood Foresters in 1904.
According to his army records he was discharged at the end of his three year service in May 1907.
He re-enlisted at the outbreak of WW1 in 1914 and was posted to France in January 1915 with the Notts and Derby Royal Army Medical Corps.
A month later his wife gave birth to their fifth child who they named Ada.
Ada was given the unusual middle names of Armentiers Gordon. Armentiers was the town where William was serving and Gordon was the surname of the general that he was serving under.
After being hospitalised himself William was posted back to the UK in March 1916.
He was then sent to work at the Liverpool Convalescent Hospital and one of his duties was to escort post traumatic stress victims down to St Albans.
The father of eight sons and six daughters was also positioned in Simons Town in South Africa and from there was posted to the Castle Hospital in Cape Town.
William came back to England on board the hospital ship ‘Durham Castle’ and after a short period of leave he left for France once again in August 1918.
Shortly after he contracted pneumonia and remained in the Shirley Warren infirmary until his discharge in November 1918.
After the war William remained a reservist and in July 1921 was promoted to Warrant Officer with the Northamptonshire Regiment of the Territorial Army and received a letter of commendation from 10 Downing Street.
He died of bronchitis in December 1955.
Steve, who is being sponsored by Omni Lifetime Planning Ltd, Fitness Squad UK, and MSB Accounting Ltd, needs to raise a minimum of £1,250 for The Soldiers Charity to be able to take part in this poignant event.
Steve, who lived in Hatfield until 1999, said: “Although I never met William I want to do it in his honour and to raise money for such a good cause.
“I’ve seen peoples reviews online talking about their experiences while doing this challenge and one guy said his toe nails fell off because of all the walking.
“I’m walking everyday now in preparation with my dogs Casey and Max and I’m really thankful to anyone who sponsors me.
“I also have collection tins and wrist bands to sell to help me achieve my target so if you’re a pub, shop, club or anything and would like to help that way please do contact me.”
If you would like to donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Steve-Bish1 or if you would like to sponsor Steve contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org