YOUNG double amputee Lydia Cross of Braunton braved freezing weather on Saturday morning to join policemen Jim Hunt of Barnstaple and Mark Hoar of Bridgwater on the start of a 185-mile military ‘yomp’ from Lympstone to Downing Street in London.

Lydia, 10, lost both legs to meningitis back in 2003, but the brave girl has been determined to do all she can to support the military charity Commando 999 in their efforts to help injured servicemen from the Royal Marines.

The charity is particularly poignant to Lydia, as her father Tony served as a former Commando with the Royal Logistic Corps.

Starting at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Lydia joined the policemen on the first 30 miles of their challenge, using her new racing wheelchair. Here they yomped all the way through what is famously know as ‘Heartbreak Lane’ on to the A30 and A303.

Lydia said: “ My dad Tony used to be a Commando, so when I heard what Jim and Mark were doing for Commando 999 and The Royal Marines Association, I couldn’t think of a better way to help all the injured servicemen. I have just started racing in my new wheelchair and hope to take part in next year’s London mini-marathon, so it will be great training for me.”

Mark and Jim are continuing their ‘yomp’ to Central London in order to take part in the annual Commando 999 Speedmarch this Saturday. The speedmarch marathon will cover a 26 mile course across Central London.

Jim said: “Commando 999 is such a worthwhile cause as they really help the boys who are returning from Afghanistan and other areas of conflict.”

Commando 999 is created by former Royal Marines Commandos who are now serving in the UK emergency services. This includes firefighters, ambulance servicemen and police officers.