Navy

Son Inspires Navy Officer's Portsmouth To Plymouth Challenge

Chief Petty Officer Chris Levy was joined by a Navy veteran on the 10-day challenge.

A Royal Navy officer has completed a charity challenge that saw him hike from HMS Nelson in Portsmouth, to HMS Drake in Plymouth.

Chief Petty Officer Chris Levy and retired Petty Officer Simon Cranfield walked over 220 miles, raising more than £6,000 for The Grand Appeal (Bristol Children’s Hospital) and Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC).

The challenge lasted 10 days and the pair camped every night, while also benefiting from the generosity of people along the way for use of electronic charging points and ferry crossings.

CPO Levy said: "We divided the days up into roughly 20 mile segments but with detours and the rugged nature of the coast through Dorset and Devon... some days cracked 24 to 25 miles. 

"It’s a gruelling challenge, but worth every penny we can raise for the charities."

CPO Levy's motivation for the hike came from his son, Harrison.

In 2015, then aged nine, he was taken to Bristol Children’s Hospital for life-saving surgery after he had been placed in intensive care at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

"We spent just over two months in Bristol and Derriford combined, in ICU and a recovery ward," CPO Levy said.

"Our whole family was displaced, my wife and I spent 24 hours shifts at Harrison's side for the whole period.

CPO Levy's son, Harrison, joined the pair for the final part of the hike (Picture Royal Navy).

"In total Harrison had three major surgeries, one being life-saving and over 50 Lumbar punctures over a period of six months."

Harrison’s battle did not end there, as there were complications that resulted in “blood clots in his head” and him having a "peritoneal shunt" surgically implanted into his spine.

Now, Harrison leads a "perfectly normal life...with some restrictions on contact sports", as a serious "blow to his head or shunt location could still be fatal".

"A truly harrowing experience that I would not wish on any family, I am thankful that so many doctors, nurses, HCAs, friends, family and charities were able to help support us in our time of need," CPO Levy added.

Harrison met both CPO Levy and Mr Cranfield two days before the end of the challenge and completed the final part of the hike from Buckfastleigh in Devon to HMS Drake, Devonport.

Cover Image: Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Chris Levy and retired Chief Petty Officer Simon Cranfield after completing their 220 mile hike (Picture: Royal Navy).