Falklands pals tackle duathlon event in Northumberland

Chris Warner and Stephen Jopling.
Chris Warner and Stephen Jopling.

Reuniting 25 years after their ship was bombed during the Falklands Conflict has led to a new series of adventures for Stephen Jopling and Chris Warner as they prepare for a Run Bike Run challenge.

The Navy veterans were on board HMS Plymouth when it was attacked by five aircraft on June 8, 1982. Chris, known to Navy colleagues as Jack, sustained serious head injuries for which he continued to be treated for almost 30 years.

Now, with a combined age of 115, they are preparing to take on the Run Bike Run event, which will take place as part of the Kielder Marathon weekend.

This will be the second time the former colleagues have tackled the 42km route as a team, coming sixth in 2015.

Stephen runs the first and third of the three stages, with Chris cycling the middle segment, and the pair are raising funds for The Tynedale Hospice at Home.

Stephen, who lives in nearby Stannersburn, got back in touch with Chris, who lives near Stoke, almost 10 years ago, via a reunion website. It was the first time they had seen each other since the conflict.

Stephen said: “I was in charge of the Mess Deck and Chris worked in my department with me, and we were really close friends.

“He was wounded doing my job while I was doing some training in the boiler room. We were attacked by five aircraft.”

Chris said: “A piece of metal, like a hinge from a door, went through my head, into the membrane of my brain.

“I just got a straight hit, I didn’t know much about it, to be honest. I was having operations only eight years ago.”

Race director Steve Cram said: “Steve and Chris did a fantastic job coming sixth last year and we are looking forward to seeing if they can beat that this year.”

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