Brian follows in his father’s footsteps to Halifax

William Hoyle and Brian Donkersley
William Hoyle and Brian Donkersley

A man whose father ran away from home to join the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment has completed an emotional journey to retrace his footsteps.

Jack Donkersley left his home in Oldham to join the Dukes in 1934, and his son Brian has run that same 19-mile journey as a tribute to his dad and to raise funds for a memorial statue that will be installed in Halifax to commemorate the regiment.

He was joined by retired corporal from the regiment, William Hoyle, with the pair completing the run in three hours and 14 minutes.

“We were worried about the smoke from the Saddleworth Moor fire and you could really smell it, but it didn’t affect us really,” said Brian.

“We’re both in pretty good shape as it turned out, so the initial climb wasn’t too bad, and then we had a nice bit downhill to Denshaw with the breeze in our faces.

“I’d let Ripponden School know about the run in advance and their pupils all lined-up to cheer us on as we ran past, which was great.

Then when we reached the bowling club there was just a real sense of achievement.

“It really was a super day and we had some terrific support. The adrenaline was really pumping when we finished.

“All the way round there was never a thought of us giving up. It was there to be done, and we did it.”

Brian had set a target of raising £500 but has raised close to £900 so far.

On the Dukes memorial statue, which will be unveiled next May, Brian added: “I think it’s great for Halifax. It’s very much known as the Yorkshire Regiment now, so this will put the Dukes into the public consciousness.

“I’m hoping to be there for the unveiling - if I get invited!”

To donate to Brian’s cause, visit www.justgiving.com/Brian-Donkersley1.