Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 18:37 UK

Skateboarder's 700-mile challenge

Laura Hatwell
Laura Hatwell will leave for the Shetland Islands next week

A Devon woman is raising money for wounded service personnel with a 700 mile (1,127km) skateboard trip.

Laura Hatwell from Tavistock will cover up to 40 miles (64km) a day on her challenge around the north east coast of Scotland.

The 27-year-old decided to raise cash for Help for Heroes after the death of Plymouth Royal Marine.

"I'm not brave enough to be a soldier and make the ultimate sacrifice, but I've brave enough to skate," she said.

Travis Mackin was killed in an explosion while on patrol in Afghanistan in January.

Skating's easy - coming home with an injury that'll affect the rest of your life is a bigger battle
Laura Hatwell

"His girlfriend is a close friend and I saw the hurt and impact his death had, not only on her, but on the city of Plymouth," Ms Hatwell told BBC News.

"I knew I had to do something and skateboarding is something I can do.

"Skating's easy - coming home with an injury that'll affect the rest of your life is a bigger battle.

"If Travis had survived he would've needed Help for Heroes and the facilities they provide.

"It's a brilliant cause and this is something I can do to help."

Laura Hatwell talks about her challenge to raise money for Help for Heroes

The skateboarder went to university in Stirling and worked in Glasgow for three years, which was one of the two reasons she had for choosing Scotland for her challenge.

"The other reason was my grandfather, Len Chester, who was a young bugler in the Royal Marines who was based in Scapa Flow during World War Two," Ms Hatwell said.

"He's 84, still going strong and has helped me plan my route."

Ms Hatwell is hoping to raise about £500 by skating around Orkney, then from John O'Groats on the mainland back down the east coast until she reaches the English border.

When she returns to Devon, Ms Hatwell will begin a teacher training course at the College of St Mark and St John.



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SEE ALSO
Marathon agony of injured marine
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Funeral service held for marine
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