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Up periscope – former nuclear submarine commander sets off on ancient pilgrimage for charity

25 April 2016
Simon Bebbington

A former nuclear submarine commander turned housing professional from Castle Cary, Somerset, is set to undertake an ancient pilgrimage in northern Spain for charity.

Simon Bebbington, a housing professional with Hanover Housing Association, will be setting off on a month-long trek across a region known as the Camino Frances. The trek starts in the French Pyrenees at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and finishes at the world famous cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. Simon has decided to dedicate his 485 mile trek to two charities very close to his heart, namely Help the Heroes and Macmillian Cancer Research.

He said: 'The sacrifice our servicemen and women make on our behalf is incomparable. I think the least I can do is support those who have such a need from the physical and mental scars they receive.'

In also choosing Macmillian Cancer Research, Simon has decided to support an organisation that has helped many residents living at Hanover Court over the years.

Commander Bebbington’s naval career started in 1967. After a period of specialist training he became a submarine rating. He was later selected to go to Dartmouth Royal Naval College and was commissioned as a midshipman.

After a further period of training he opted to specialise as a submarine warfare officer, which led to him being selected to undertake the Submarine Command Qualify Course, a training programme which was televised in a BBC programme called ‘The Perisher’ (the nickname for the course.)

Simon went on to be Second-in-Command of HMS Sovereign, a fleet nuclear submarine, and then to command HMS Orpheus and HMS Valiant.

He said: 'Being in command of a submarine means the buck stops here. However, I was fortunate to have outstanding officers and men supporting me throughout my various commands. It was a terrific honour and great fun.'

After retiring from the Royal Navy in 2000, Simon had a brief stint at the Royal Mail before taking the helm as manager of Hanover Court in Castle Cary where he supports the health and wellbeing of residents.

If you would like to sponsor Simon please visit his Just Giving pages for Macmillan Cancer Support and Help for Heroes

You can read more about Simon’s adventures on his blog.