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30 May How Henry Cavill Came to Support the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund and the 1664 Challenge

Category: Articles & Reviews Discussion:

On Memorial Day 2014 we were contacted by the Royal Marine Charitable Trust Fund with the news that Henry Cavill had become an ambassador to their organization. Through a special video, he also helped to launch the final leg of the grueling 1664 Challenge that would not only celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines, but also help to raise 500,000 pounds for the RMCTF.

We spoke to Charlotte Martin, Fundraising Coordinator for the RMCTF about how Henry came to be involved and to learn a bit more about the Royal Marine Charitable Trust Fund and the 1664 Challenge.


Henry's older brother, Major Niki Cavill of the Royal MarinesHenry's older brother, Major Niki Cavill of the Royal Marines

How did Henry Cavill end up being an ambassador for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund?

Back in summer 2013, when Henry was training for the filming of Man From U.N.C.L.E, his management team contacted us to ask if we had any branded clothing Henry could wear to promote the charity while he trains. We were delighted Henry had chosen to support the RMCTF and sent everything over to him. Earlier this year Henry’s management team contacted us to let us know the good news that he had chosen the RMCTF as one of the key charities to pledge his support to. Henry’s brother, Lieutenant Colonel Nik Cavill MBE, is a serving Royal Marine who, among other things, has seen seven operational tours, including three tours of Afghanistan during his career so far. Because Henry has a close family member in the Corps and comes from a military background he understand the sacrifices people in the armed forces make and knows how important and valuable the charitable support we provide is.


Can you tell us a bit about the taping of Henry's segment?

The film was recorded on set of Batman v Superman in Detroit, Michigan, with the help of one of the film’s cameramen. As well as filming the 5 minute video you see, Henry was also kind enough to film a shorter video, where he spoke directly to the event organisers, core team and all the un-sung heroes who made this happen to thank them for all their efforts and hard work.


Henry Cavill launched the running portion of the 1664 Challenge. Can you tell us more about this overall challenge and how it came about?

Charlie MartinCharlie Martin

The 1664 Challenge is an endurance event set up for the Corps to celebrate the Royal Marines 350th anniversary and raise £500,000 for the RMCTF. The core team initially set off in February and skied 1,664km across Norway, they then sailed 1,664 nautical miles to Cadiz in Spain, cycled 1,664km to France, kayaked through the day and night across the English Channel before finally joining Royal Marine Units across the UK to run the remaining 1,664km around the country. There are six Royal Marines (the core team), who have taken part in every phase of the challenge, and they have been joined at each phase by a different team of Marines to support them. For more information on the challenge and to view all the photos from the event so far visit or you can watch a YouTube video here

The Royal Marines 350th anniversary deserved more than an ordinary challenge. Skiing 1,664km across Norway was not enough for Lieutenant Colonel Gary Green who is the man behind the 1664 Challenge.

Lieutenant Colonel Gary GreenLieutenant Colonel Gary Green

“I had previously attempted a 1,000km ski in just 20 days in memory of my wife, to raise money for cancer charities – I took along five of my contemporaries and five young marines. From that ski, I realised that young marines with very little winter warfare experience could quickly adapt, pick up the skills and ski an extraordinary distance in a short period of time – they were outstanding. This led to the idea for a similar challenge to coincide with the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines in 2014. This time however I wanted the distance to equal the birth date of the Corps in 1664. So the challenge was born. However I wasn’t satisfied with a 1,664 km ski; this seminal occasion deserved something more, something extraordinary, so I bolted on a 1,664 mile sail, a 1,664 km cycle a canoe across the channel and a 1,664 km run around the UK.”

“Personal tragedy was a factor in my motivation, but more than that was the realisation that with this challenge I could raise much needed funds for the Royal Marines charity and help our seriously injured guys in their transition back to some kind of normality. Having met a number of injured Royal Marines when I was the Commanding Officer of Stonehouse Barracks I was struck by the determination these guys showed. They were quite simply inspirational displaying grit, determination and true Commando spirit – I was completely humbled and wanted to help.”


Are the Royal Marines that are participating in the 1664 Challenge chosen or did they volunteer?

Every Royal Marine participating has volunteered to take part. For each of the Corps Team of 6 selected to do the whole challenge we had in excess of 30 Royal Marines who volunteered from each of the major Commando Units. The 4200 Royal Marines taking part in elements of the run around the UK have also volunteered to take part and to try to raise money for the Royal Marines Charity.


What kind of training did they go through to be successful with such a significant physical challenge as the 1664?

The Corps Team has been training for over a year. Specific courses undertaken were, the Winter Warfare Course in Norway. This taught them how to ski, operate and, if necessary, survive in the inhospitable terrain of Northern Norway in winter. They all took the 3 star Kayak course and were all qualified to Competent Crew level on a Challenger 67 yacht. This was all interspersed with cycle training and running fitness.

Major Nik Cavill of X-Ray Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines, in the village of Siadabad, while on patrol from Patrol Base Kalang in Afghanistan, in July 2011


You are trying to raise 500,000 pounds to support the RMCTF. What does your organization do and what will the money go towards?

The Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund is here to provide a better quality of life to serving and retired Royal Marines and their families. The RMCTF is the overarching Royal Marines charity that is partnered with the Royal Marines and supports the Corps Family, from cadets, through serving marines to retired marines, including reserves and the band service and all of their dependents’ and families. Funds raised for the charity are spent on the three pathways below:

  • Recovery Pathway Helping the wounded and injured in any way we can, particularly as the most severely injured begin their transition into civilian life; quite simply, the RMCTF will help when others cannot.
  • Quality of Life Pathway Helping those still serving and facing successive tours in high threat environments - providing adventure training for those returning from operations, funding homecoming events, financing memorials, maintaining our heritage etc.
  • Through Life Pathway Continuing the same level of support and care once the beneficiaries break their formal links to the Corps.

Sadly, but importantly, the RMCTF also provides a grant to the next of kin of those who die in service within 48 hours of the event.


Henry's older brother, Major Niki Cavill of the Royal Marines Henry's older brother, Major Niki Cavill of the Royal MarinesNiki Cavill is made an MBE, for services in Afghanistan, by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on October 19, 2012.

What does it mean to have somebody like Henry Cavill supporting your organization?

Henry Cavill is an iconic figure. His support to the challenge and to the RMCTF thus raises the profile of the event and the good things that the charity does in support of injured and wounded Royal Marines. It was a poignant moment for the challenge and for all the Royal Marines when Henry spoke over the video prior to the start of the run phase. His time is precious, we know that, and thus his desire to make this video and help all of the Royal Marines on this challenge is truly an inspiration for others. A real friend is someone who gives and expects nothing in return – Henry is without doubt a friend to the Royal Marines. Our fundraising target is ambitious and we know we cannot get there alone; the simple but clearly genuine and heartfelt way that that Henry came across in the video will encourage all the Royal Marines and general public in the UK to help raise this massive sum for our injured guys.


How long is this fundraising effort going on for and how can people help you reach your goal?

Throughout the run around the UK volunteers will be out in force collecting money in the towns and cities the team runs through. Although the event will end on Friday 25 July, when the core team completes their final marathon through London, fundraising online will still carry on for many months afterwards.


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If anyone would like to donate to support the event they can do at or Or, you can text RMCT50 and your amount to 70070.

You can connect with the team on social media at challenge and to keep up to date with their progress and to send messages of support!

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