Hopes to raise around £5,000

Printers prep for D-Day charity hike

The 'Carpe Noctem' ('Seize the night') team have been undertaking training hikes in preparation
The 'Carpe Noctem' ('Seize the night') team have been undertaking training hikes in preparation

A team including two print industry professionals is heading out on a tough 44km (27 mile) night-time trek across Kent to raise funds for the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI).

The Tommy’s D-Day Trek team will start at midnight on 7 June from the RBLI factory in Aylesford, make its way over North Downs, and finish at Chilham Castle.

The team hopes to raise around £5,000 for the RBLI, which employs veterans at its two print houses and provides housing for elderly and vulnerable ex-forces personnel.

The team includes Andy Ray, business development manager at BBMC Leatherhead, the RBLI’s mailing house, Martin Davis, pre-press manager at Precision Proco Dagenham, and their friends Alan Adkins and Adam Catchpole.

Ray told Printweek: “If there’s a good wind behind us, it should take us about 10 hours. We can’t wait – we’re fairly unfit but we’ve been putting in the hours on the training.”

The RBLI, which is a separate entity to The Royal British Legion and raises its own funds, produces signage at its Aylesford site for clients like National Highways and Network Rail, running it through Agfa kit.

A social enterprise, like the Leatherhead mailing house, the factory reinvests all its profits to support employment for the veterans on its payroll; the 17-person Leatherhead site largely employs disabled ex-forces personnel on Canon-based digital print and fulfilment.

Davis started in pre-press aged 16, and has been with Precision – and now Precision Proco – for 19 years.

He added: “It’s a great cause, and when I saw Andy was doing it, I said ‘sign me up!’

“I actually feel quite humble about it as well, to be honest, because of all the sacrifices that people have made over the years.”

Davis’ own grandfather was stationed not far from the trek’s route on the south coast during the war, and he will be wearing his Royal Artillery badge during the trek.

“It’s a nice way of doffing my cap,” Davis said. 

“I feel very honoured to do it.”

Donations for the event can be made via the team's JustGiving page.