A SOLDIER from Redditch who was awarded a medal for his efforts to train forces in Ukraine is set to take on a gruelling fundraising challenge to help the country.

CSgt Stuart Collins will trek 80 miles in a full army kit, from his base in Wiltshire to the Ukrainian Embassy in London to raise money for humanitarian aid in Ukraine following the invasion of Russian forces.

He is taking on a ‘tabbing’ challenge which is a military term for walking at a fast pace with a weighted bergen, or rucksack.

The 43-year-old was inspired to act due to his close personal ties to Ukraine as in 2017 he trained members of the Ukrainian army, such as paratroopers and new recruits.

In recognition of his hard work, he was awarded a medal from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence which was presented to him by the then President of Ukraine.

He is the first person outside of the Ukrainian army to be awarded the accolade.

Redditch Advertiser: Stuart with his colleagues in Ukraine. Photo: Mercian Regiment.Stuart with his colleagues in Ukraine. Photo: Mercian Regiment.

Stuart said: “It’s a fantastic country with beautiful people, I think people here are seeing that themselves now. I thought what can I do?

“I’m still in touch with civilians and military personnel. I’ve had messages saying thank you for the training, it’s really helped.”

Stuart, along with his brother Matthew Collins, will start the challenge on March 23 in Bulford in Wiltshire where his regiment is based. They will trek to Basingstoke, Bagshot and Staines before arriving at the Ukrainian embassy in London.

They are aiming to complete the walk in under 36 hours, which they will take on while draped in the Ukrainian flag.

Stuart has a Just Giving page which has already raised £1,000, with money donated to British Ukrainian Aid to help humanitarian work on the ground in Ukraine.