Sergeant Major Andrew Vern Stokes was in charge of military and ceremonial aspects of the funeral 10062022 CREDIT Vern Stokes.jpg
The senior soldier ran the London Marathon to support the military charity Tickets For Troops (Picture: Vern Stokes).
Forces Charities

Soldier responsible for Queen's funeral procession smashes £1k London marathon target

Sergeant Major Andrew Vern Stokes was in charge of military and ceremonial aspects of the funeral 10062022 CREDIT Vern Stokes.jpg
The senior soldier ran the London Marathon to support the military charity Tickets For Troops (Picture: Vern Stokes).

Garrison Sergeant Major Andrew 'Vern' Stokes once again had many eyes on him on Sunday as he ran the London Marathon.

The soldier, who missed four weeks of training due to his key role in the Queen's procession, took on the 26.2-mile course in the capital to raise funds for Tickets for Troops (T4T).

Mr Stokes – who was in charge of military and ceremonial aspects of the State Funeral – has so far raised more than £8,000 for the charity, smashing his goal by more than 800%.

The marathon runner tweeted from the start line, thanking his supporters on social media, saying: "It genuinely means the world."

His original fundraising target was set at £1,000, and, so far, more than 330 donations have been made. The fundraising page is still open and donations are still pouring in as of Monday. 

On 19 September, the Garrison Sergeant Major took the long walk down The Mall as part of the Queen's historic funeral and said he felt pride in an event that he believes has "galvanised the nation".

GSM Vern Stokes, who wore a distinctive Tickets For Troops running vest, has spoken about how "Her Majesty's funeral seems to have ignited a renewed patriotism".

The soldier's social media continues to be inundated with praise, he told Tickets For Troops, saying: "What is clear is that Her Majesty's funeral and the ceremonial surrounding it galvanised the nation, the common thread in all comments is 'Pride'; pride in Her Majesty's life and the legacy that she left, pride in the Armed Forces and the role they played... and most common is that people felt proud to be British.

"Her Majesty's funeral seems to have ignited a renewed patriotism."

He added: "Those comments make me feel that the Armed Forces delivered above and beyond expectation, something they are very used to doing on a daily basis, but not necessarily in the nation's eye on the global scene."

"Intense pride"

"I feel relief that all the discreet planning my colleagues and I have done over many years culminated in such a successful farewell for Her Majesty," the Garrison Sergeant Major said.

"It was an exhausting 12-day programme of activities, all of which required briefing, recces and rehearsals.

"I feel intense pride for all those that took part, that worked so hard throughout, as well as intense gratitude that the nation stood still on Monday for hours to reflect the Queen's life. An incredible day." 

To sponsor GSM Vern Stokes and help Ticket for Troops, you can visit his fundraising page here.

Image ID 2K10157 Garrison Sergeant Major Stokes and members of the royal family follow the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace 14092022 CREDIT PA, Alamy
Garrison Sergeant Major Stokes (centre in his bearskin and ceremonial uniform) with members of the Royal Family during the ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall (Picture: PA/ Alamy).