A team of veterans and servicemen are commemorating the 457 soldiers who died in Afghanistan by undertaking a strenuous physical challenge.
The Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) team is walking 45.7 miles from Chesterfield to the Cenotaph in Manchester, carrying 45.7lbs – the equivalent of a Men’s Olympic barbell.
The challenge – called Walking Home For Christmas – is raising money to support veterans and their family members who have been affected by mental health issues during the pandemic.
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Team leader James Holt, a reservist who served in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Estonia, said: "I have volunteered for WWTW a few times and think it is important that our veteran brothers and sisters get the support they need. You're only a soldier for so long, but you are a veteran forever.
"I am embarking on the Walking Home For Christmas endeavour in memory of all those who lost their lives in Afghanistan, namely my friend Jay who was an incredible soldier and a terrible dancer."
Scott Briggs, who works at WWTW and serves as a reservist added: "I witness the life-changing service that WWTW provides to our Armed Forces community. Having grown up in a military family and as a currently serving reservist, I am passionate about supporting those who served.
"This year marks the first anniversary of my uncle's death. He sadly took his own life last year due to the challenges he faced with his mental health – I hope that our challenge helps to prevent more deaths like this from taking place."
New research commissioned by WWTW found Britons are still suffering an impact on their mental health caused by lockdowns enforced during the pandemic.
Four in five of those surveyed said that they still suffer from the effects on their mental health – equating to more than 53 million adults, even following the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
Walking Home for Christmas is an annual fundraising campaign for WWTW, a charity that provides mental health, employment, care co-ordination and volunteering opportunities for vulnerable veterans.
The campaign encourages anyone from any walk of life to register and fundraise, by undertaking a walk to support veterans who need it.