James and members of S&P Torfaen outside the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon
James and members of S&P Torfaen outside the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon Credit: S&P Torfaen

A Torfaen man walked ten miles dressed as a Roman soldier to raise money for the Miscarriage Association.

James and Hannah Yacomen, from Talywain, suffered a miscarriage in May 2023. He wants to “break down the stigma” and encourage people to talk about it.

He told Cwmbran Life that he’s done a fundraiser for different charities for the last five years, raising around £10,000 in total.

But after his family’s miscarriage last year, he decided to do something to “help a charity who are pushing research and support for those who go through such a horrible tragedy.”

He said: “I always do something stupid for charity every year. This was probably the most extreme so far. It went well. I’d never realised how much of hill Ponthir was on!

“It went surprisingly smoothly. I was a bit shocked. I put a lot of training in. I used to work in the museum in Caerleon hence the Roman get-up.”

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The outfit weighed 40kg so he had extra help from his gym to get fit.

man dressed as roman soldier outside a gym
James was helped by his coaches at S&P Torfaen in Griffithstown, Alastair Eustace and Serena Goodwin Credit: S&P Torfaen

The “avid gym-goer” trains at S&P Torfaen in Griffithstown and was joined on the walk by around 30 other members. He thanked his coaches, Alastair Eustace and Serena Goodwin, for their help to organise the event.

The group met at Cwmbran Boating Lake on Saturday 22 June at 10.30am where Alastair and Serena had a surprise for the group. They brought six 20kg sandbags for the members to carry while walking with James. The rule was the bags couldn’t touch the floor until they got to the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon.

The youngest person to complete the walk was Elise, James and Hannah’s 12-week old daughter, who took part in her pushchair, pushed by her “trooper” mum, Hannah.

a man carries a heavy sandbag
The group took turns to carry one of six 20kg sandbags on the walk to Caerleon and back to Cwmbran Credit: S&P Torfaen

James said: “Everyone surprisingly smashed it, there and back. It took about 90 minutes to get there and then we had a quick drink in The Bull pub.”

a group of around 30 people sat on grass and stood up smile at camera
James (front row centre) and his gym friends rest at Cwmbran Boating Lake after their walk Credit: S&P Torfaen

Then they set off to walk back to Cwmbran.

James said: “By the end of it, each step was burning, but it was for a good cause. We got a few double-takes which was funny, like ‘did I really just see that?’.

“We had quite a few people along the route come out of their houses which was nice. And we got support from people tooting their horns. And we had a couple of donations from passing cars which was awesome.”

James said he wanted to thank Hannah, his “suffering wife for putting up with my stupid ideas for charity!”

Sponsor James

You can make a donation to James’ fundraiser through his JustGiving page.

On his JustGiving page, James talks about his experience of miscarriage.

“The reason I am sharing this and raising money for the miscarriage association this year is because miscarriage is still a taboo subject. We came home from the holiday and other than the few people who knew about it, we never told anyone else. It was never discussed with anyone again, not even between my wife and I The stigma about miscarriage is something that needs to be broken down.

In the UK, 1 in 8 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. But no one talks about it. It takes a lot to speak up and talk about it and I hope by raising this money it can help a charity who are pushing research and support for those who go through such a horrible tragedy.”

Have you been affected by miscarriage?

If you’ve been affected by miscarriage, visit The Miscarriage Association’s website for advice and support. Their telephone helpline (01924 200799) is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 4pm, and from 9am to 8pm on Wednesday and Friday.

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