Walking home for Christmas like a tramp

Tom in Bath at journey's end 2014

Tom in Bath at journey’s end 2014

Last year many of you made generous contributions to help me raise £2,500 for the homeless charity Shelter. This year I am almost doubling the distance I walk, and the nights out sleeping rough in the cold December weather, to achieve a doubling of the target to £5,000.

By Tom Sawford.

In December I will walk along the byways of England from the parish church of Ottery St Mary in Devon to Winchester Cathedral to raise awareness of the curses of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and related homelessness. The route of around 120 miles will take me about 5-6 days and I will walk as a tramp, living off the goodwill of strangers, and sleeping rough in order to meet the goal of raising £5,000 for two charities that work tirelessly to assist those who struggle with these issues.

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading Veterans’ mental health charity. Mental ill-health such as PTSD affects ex-Service men and women of all ages. Right now, the charity supports over 5,900 Veterans aged from 18 to 97, and spends over £15 million per annum delivering its unique range of specialist treatment and welfare support which is always free of charge.

Winchester Churches Nightshelter provides a vital lifeline to the homeless, and remains the only night shelter offering direct access emergency accommodation in Hampshire. They support up to 200 homeless people annually. Residents benefit from a programme of practical and emotional support to help them to rebuild their lives and escape homelessness for good. Many of the people they deal with are ex-military. There is a direct link between mental health problems such as PTSD and homelessness. Money raised will go direct to the homeless which I feel may be a better outcome than through a larger charity.

I hope that you will feel inspired to support the fundraising and make some (doubly !!!) generous contributions at the Just Giving page where you can choose to split your donations between the two charities if you wish.

Some of you have asked about joining the walk and you would be very welcome to do so for some or all of the route. The dates are likely to be 12th or 13th December to 17th or 18th although these could shift to the right by a couple of days. I will publish the full route very soon.

There is a public Facebook page if you want to follow the progress. https://www.facebook.com/walkinghomeforchristmas/

Thank you all very much. Please donate here. https://www.justgiving.com/teams/likeatramp

#combatstress #homelessness #homeless #veterans

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