A team of veterans and serving armed forces personnel from around Milton Keynes are walking from Kassam Stadium in Oxford to Stadium MK ahead of the Sky Bet League One fixture between MK Dons and Oxford United.
The team will set off early hours on Saturday 14th December from the home of the Yellows and will finish at Stadium MK in time for kick off, as part of Walking With The Wounded’s national campaign Walking Home For Christmas to support ex-servicemen and women who are alone this Christmas.
The campaign was kicked off by ex-England footballer and winner of Channel 4’s celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins show, Wayne Bridge, and will see thousands of people doing their own walks across the UK to raise vital funds for employment, mental health and care coordination support for veterans and their families who are in need.
Nick Vernon got involved because he is a serving reservist and hopes to raise £2000. Nick told mkdons.com: "After serving their country in some of the most arduous conditions, the least we can do is offer as much support as we can when times are hard, we are never thankful enough of the sacrifices made on our behalf."
The team’s walk will take place on Saturday 14 December. For more on how you can join them, donate or find out how to do your own walk, click HERE!
Bridge, who played for Chelsea and Manchester City before retiring due to injury, said: "After taking part in SAS: Who Dares Wins and getting to know some of the guys taking us through the challenges, you quickly learn the immense stresses they’ve had to go through – both physically and mentally – to risk their lives to make Britain – and the world – a safer place for us all.
"Yet when they return, they may find themselves isolated and struggling to find work as they adapt to civilian life – all while struggling with their mental health after witnessing scenes in battle that you or I cannot imagine."
He added: "There’s a solution there and a simple one, by going for a walk in the run-up to Christmas, you can raise money that is essential to help these brave men and women who have risked their own lives thousands of miles from home."
Ed Parker, CEO of Walking With The Wounded said: “Every walk, big or small, can make a difference. It’s about creating a story that resonates with you and your network and sparks donations. That’s what is so special, and fun about the campaign.
"People carry home Christmas trees, walk their age, write virtual messages with their walk on Strava and all have a memorable time doing good. What better time to give something back to those who have given so much?"
The campaign invites anyone to register for free, receive a branded Santa hat and do a sponsored walk home or somewhere important to them anytime between 12 -22 December.
The event is aiming to support 400 ex-servicemen and women who are socially isolated, struggling with their mental health, homeless or caught in police custody – and get them back into employment and independence.
Signing up for Walking Home for Christmas is easy and free – just log on to www.walkinghomeforchristmas.com and register for your fundraising pack.