The legacy of a Scots army captain who died while raising funds for Help for Heroes has been commemorated by the charity.
Since Captain David Seath, from Crossgates, Fife, collapsed just three miles short of the finish line running the 2016 London Marathon and died later in hospital, his family have gone on to raise over £300,000 for the charity.
And this week, Help for Heroes marked Captain Seath’s incredible legacy by installing a memorial stone and planting a crab apple tree in the grounds of its Northern Recovery Centre, Phoenix House, at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, with his parents Libby and Peter and brother Gary as guests of honour.
An officer in 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, David had chosen to support Help for Heroes through his participation in the London Marathon as he cared passionately about veteran welfare.
Mark Elliott, founder of Help for Heroes, said: “For David to die the way he did, doing what he did, speaks volumes about the man he was – doing something to help others. Help for Heroes is very much about family. We lost a member of our wider family when David died but we gained three more in Libby, Pete and Gary, and it’s been a huge honour to do so.
“I could talk about David for a long time but I would like to talk about these three extraordinary people who, out of incredible adversity – losing a son, a brother – have gone on to do what they have done… raising money, planting a tree to keep David’s name alive and through all that, everyday helping others. So, I would like to pay tribute to them and say thank you. David would have been extremely proud, as are we, of everything you have achieved.”
Gerry McGregor, who runs Help for Heroes’ fellowship network in Scotland, said: “It is amazing what you have done as a family to carry on David’s legacy. I am so lucky as I get to see the difference it makes to veterans’ lives every single day – we could not do what we do without you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of all the veterans we support in Scotland.”
David’s mother Libby told guests at the ceremony how her son had expressed his desire to work with veterans after he left the army and how she felt he would be pleased that he was now helping them, through the memorial fund set up in his name. Mrs Seath plans to return to Phoenix House and teach veterans how to make jelly using the apples from the tree as part of their recovery.
Gary Seath, who founded the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund in his brother’s memory, said: “The funds raised in David’s name will be used to support Scottish veterans in their recovery, including taking part in wide range of sporting, creative and vocational courses as well as receive mental health support and general respite from the day-to-day chaos of life.
“Help for Heroes staff are also on the ground establishing a programme of regular social, sporting and learning activities in across Scotland as a means to build communities of solidarity and support. Most importantly, whether at Phoenix House or by attending events within their local community, members are accessing a holistic recovery programme which focuses on peer-on-peer support; reinforcing the charity’s ethos that those who serve together deserve to recover together.
“It is a wonderful, fitting tribute that personnel, veterans and their families will now have an opportunity to stop and reflect at David’s memorial stone at Phoenix House. I hope David’s legacy and Commando ethos serves to encourage and inspire recovery through sport, creativity and education, within the walls of what is a very special place, reinforced by a special bond of camaraderie and solidarity.”
The granite plaque was donated by Fife stonemasons WL Watsons & Sons of St Andrews. The company have made two other commemorative plaques, installed at David’s former base RM Condor, Arbroath and at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge.
More information on the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund at https://captainseathmemorialfund.blog/