Military charity Walking with the Wounded has launched the 2020 iteration of its Walking Home for Christmas challenge with walks set to take place between 10 and 20 December.
Total donations so far stand at more than £85,000 and close to 2,000 walkers have signed up with over a week until the event begins.
This is Walking Home for Christmas’ sixth year during which it has provided employment help, mental health support and care co-ordination programmes to more than 1,000 ex-service men and women and their families.
Walking with the Wounded CEO and co-founder, Ed Parker said: “The coronavirus pandemic has created a new battlefield for ex-military who are already struggling.
“We have seen a spike in the number of referrals to our programmes.”
Parker said this year’s Walking Home for Christmas challenge hopes to help 200 ex-servicemen and women but that the more that can be raised, the more people can receive support.
He added: “A huge amount of people have suffered this year in one way or another during lockdown.
“Walking Home for Christmas offers an opportunity to get together with colleagues, family, and friends to walk to support those who served.”
The Walking Home for Christmas event will take place soon after the UK re-emerges from lockdown back into a tiered system.
Parker emphasised the importance for people taking part to follow Government restrictions such as remaining in their bubbles and not exceeding the legal limit on people socialising at once.
He also suggested the use of Walking with the Wounded Christmas masks to add some humour and light relief.
Parker has plans to complete his own walk home along the Circle Line route.
He said: “South Kensington station is the nearest tube station to where I live. When I take the tube home it’s where I get off so I thought if I was going to walk home, I might as well integrate it with the underground and loop around.”
This year, in addition to the normal work of the charity Walking With the Wounded volunteers have delivered food parcels across the Greater Manchester area and helped set-up NHS Nightingale.
Shard Capital head of marketing, Simon Hughes said: “Shard Capital is proud to be a long-term supporter of Walking with the Wounded.
“Within the Shard Capital team there are a number of people who have previously served in the Military, therefore the work Walking with the Wounded resonates strongly.”
At the time of writing Shard Capital has raised more than £10,000 and sits top of fundraising leaderboards.
Hughes added: “As headline sponsor, we’re determined to sit at or near the top of fundraising tables.”
To sign up to walk yourself or support a team that has, click here.