THE parents and friends of a York soldier who died in Afghanistan ten years ago have completed the Cleveland Way in his memory.

They battled against heat exhaustion and blisters along the 109-mile route from Helmsley to Filey - and now look set to have raised more than £10,000 for Combat Stress, a charity which supports the mental well-being of veterans and tackles issues such as post traumatic stress disorder.

Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton, of Haxby, was killed in August 2009 when he and two other British troops were caught in a double explosion in Afghanistan’s Helmand province whilst securing the area ahead of presidential and local elections.

The former Oaken Grove Primary School and Easingwold School pupil was one of three servicemen from the York area who died in the conflict.

His parents Phil and Jill have since raised funds in his memory and decided to take on another challenge in his honour to mark the 10th anniversary of his death by doing the walk with a group of Matt’s friends, dubbed ‘TeamHatts.’

Their route skirted along the edge of the North York Moors National Park, passing by one of Matt’s favourite places, the White Horse at Sutton Bank, near Thirsk, before taking a coastal trail to the south of Saltburn.

Jill said: “It was an amazing eight days, when we walked, limped and hobbled to successfully complete the 109 miles of the Cleveland Way.

“It was a tough and emotional journey, we all shared wonderful special memories and also made lots more new ones with this special group of friends.

“Phil and I know that Matthew would have been so very proud of us all.”

Matt Segar, who helped organise the walk, said: “It was great. We all survived, although we should have been sponsored by Compeed given the number of blisters across the group!

“So far, just for the walk, including gift aid, we’ve raised £7,250 but including the other events such as the dragon boat race and charity raffle, it will push us comfortably over £10k.”

To support the drive, go to