On Wednesday 18th March, the Patron of the Walk of Britain 2015, Prince Harry, officially unveiled the core team of wounded service personnel who will walk across Britain later this year. The announcement came live from the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London.
“Walking With The Wounded has given men and women the opportunity to push themselves to extremes in some of the most inhospitable places on earth; both the Poles and Mount Everest. The challenge we are launching today, although closer to home, is no less formidable in scale – walking 1000 miles around Britain.
The public’s support for our Armed Forces continues to be extraordinary. However, as the memory of our military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan fade, we must encourage people to continue supporting our servicemen and women; particularly those who are seeking to transition into civilian life. This process can be challenging, as it is for anyone seeking a new career. As I make this transition myself, I’m determined to do all I can to help others.
The men and women of our Armed Forces are highly trained and motivated. Whether someone is leaving the services after 20 years or just a year, or having experienced a life changing injury or not – they are all in need of the same thing: a job. We should also not just think about those who have served in recent conflicts. There are veterans from previous wars who find adjusting to the world beyond the military very difficult. Employment is the key to ensuring their independence and long term security.
Walk of Britain will cover all parts of the country. Walking through the communities in which our service personnel and veterans grew up and now live. In doing so, Walk of Britain will give everyone the opportunity to meet these remarkable men and women. People up and down the country will get to see first-hand the determination and resolve of those who have served, and in particular those who have been injured or suffer hidden wounds. They will see that whatever their circumstances these men and women are looking to the future. They are looking to employers to give them the chance to keep making a contribution to our communities.
These men and women want to continue to serve their country in whatever way possible. PTSD and mental injury can make life a daily struggle. There seems to be a general consensus amongst the public that most people leaving the military are damaged goods. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We should remind people that nearly all cases end well, whether it be total cure, adjustment of life, or the ability for the individual to accept and admit the issues that face them, amongst a tricky culture of stigma.
It is a delicate balance between being ready to support those who need it and recognising the valuable role those who have served in the military can play in civilian life.
It is an honour to be stood on this stage as we announce that WWTW is coming home to walk amongst the people they have helped and the communities who have supported our armed forces so enthusiastically. I’m delighted to say that I will be joining the team for a small part of their journey and I’m hugely looking forward to it.”
For more information on the Walk Of Britain, please visit: http://walkingwiththewounded.org.uk/walkofbritain2015/