FATHER and daughter Neil and Nicola Hammond, from Yeovil, are running the 2014 London Marathon together, for SSAFA - the UK’s longest serving military charity.

Veterans Neil, 54 and Nicola, 32 have over 30 years of military service between them, having served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force respectively. 

They’ve been running together for years but admit that the London Marathon will be one of their biggest undertakings yet.

Neil, who completed his military career at RNAS Yeovilton and now works at Augusta Westland, said: “It is a real honour to secure a place in this year’s Marathon. It’s something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember.

"I’ve applied in the past and not been successful but now I’ve been given a chance, and it’s for such a great cause, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.

“We witnessed the work that SSAFA does first-hand when they helped out my father-in-law, who was also a Royal Naval veteran, immediately after my mother-in-law died.

"They gave him practical, financial and emotional support when he needed it most, and we’ll never forget that.”

Nicola, who saw active military service in overseas locations such as Afghanistan, the Falkland Islands, Cyprus and Sicily, echoed the importance of knowing that a charity such as SSAFA exists to support to both the serving and the veteran community.

She said: “Me and Dad have been lucky, we’ve both made a relatively successful transition to civilian life but it’s good to know that SSAFA would be there for us if we ever needed them.

"What stands out most to us is the way they help the families of both those who have served or who are still serving. It’s a really inclusive charity.”

Neil explained that with the Christmas and New Year festivities now over, they’re both ramping up the training and are likely to be spotted pounding the streets of Yeovil, come rain or shine.

“We’ve no doubt that there will be times when we will not want to go out running but we are motivated by those who sponsor us and ultimately by the money we can raise to help SSAFA continue its life-changing work,” he said. 

Neil and Nicola have a joint fundraising target of £3,200. To show your support for them and for SSAFA visit their fundraising page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/neilandnicolahammond

To find out more about SSAFA contact the local branch on 01935-841331 or email Somerset@ssafa.org.uk