Old comrades on SSAFA Devon recruitment tour in vintage Land Rover

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 November 2019

Former Royal Marines Keith Christopher and Clive Richards will be touring Devon with a drum, gin and the 'King's shilling' on board a vintage Land Rover to recruit volunteers for armed forces charity SSAFA. Picture: SSAFA

Former Royal Marines Keith Christopher and Clive Richards will be touring Devon with a drum, gin and the 'King's shilling' on board a vintage Land Rover to recruit volunteers for armed forces charity SSAFA. Picture: SSAFA

Archant

Two former Royal Marines are recreating the recruiting tours of two hundred years ago, but this time travelling around Devon in a Land Rover to promote a charity.

Old comrades Clive Richards and Keith Christopher will tour the county from Tuesday, December 3 until December 7 in a 42-year-old soft top land Rover with the aim of recruiting volunteers for armed forces charity SSAFA.

The project harks back to the days of the Napoleonic War when recruiting parties would visit settlements where they would bang on a drum to gain attention, then liberally distribute gin and the 'King's shilling' to eager young men.

The pair will spend five days 'in the field' and be travelling through East Devon on Saturday, December 7, parking up at Honiton Aldi supermarket from 10am to 11am.

Then they will take the A375 to Sidmouth and travel via Otterton to join the B3178 to Budleigh Salterton, where their final stop will be from 2pm until 3pm parked on Marine Parade.

They are happy to talk to anyone about the work SSAFA does and what support roles are available in Devon - volunteer fundraisers, but also case workers to help Devon's veterans.

The pair are both in their 60s and were reunited after 42 years through their work for SSAFA. They will be completely self-sufficient during the tour, living on rations and sleeping in bivouacs each night.

Mr Richards said: "We have a drum, a war chest of shillings, (5p in today's money) and miniature bottles of gin which have been generously provided by Findlay Wines of Budleigh Salterton to hand out to people who are willing to give up some of their time to this very worthy cause. I also believe Keith has something he's put aside for us in case it gets a bit cold."

Mr Christopher said: "Clive and I first served together when this Land Rover was made back in the Jubilee year of 1977. It's great to be back working together again.

"We are confident that our Land Rover will stand up to the task, especially now that Matford Land Rover and Thrifty Car Hire have kindly arranged to service it for us; it's our bodies I'm worried about."

You can also donate to SSAFA by going to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ssafadevon .

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