Walking home for Christmas like tramps

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. And by walking with my son Patrick, there is a doubling of the walkers!

By Tom Sawford.

In mid-December Patrick and 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 us about 5 days and we will walk as tramps, 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 we 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 15-19 December. 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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About proverbs6to10

Interested in Byzantium and Patrick Leigh Fermor
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3 Responses to Walking home for Christmas like tramps

  1. Done! I admire you and your son for doing this. Both causes are so valuable. Combat Stress is particularly close to my heart, as is Winchester itself, having had several maternal forebears in the Rifle Brigade. In fact, my grandfather was mortally wounded at Calais in 1940 and is commemorated in the museum. PTSD has been part of my own life for a long time although this is not war-related trauma. As we say in my business, break a leg, though I hope you don’t!
    Sarah

  2. proverbs6to10 says:

    Thank you so much Sarah. I must visit the museums in Winchester this year and are on my to do list! We raised over £3,600 in all which was very good. A tough walk and I wish we could have raised more. There is always this year!

  3. Excellent! Here’s to much more in 2016. If you do visit the Greenjackets museum (or do they still call it the Rifle Brigade museum, I wonder), look out for Lieut-Col Chandos Hoskyns. In fact, Airey Neave mentioned him in his book, The Flames of Calais. If I wasn’t in Crete, I’d meet up with you to go again!

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