Actor Brian Blessed has thrown his considerable weight behind a campaign to help homeless forces veterans over the Christmas period and beyond.
Walking Home For Christmas is a campaign from the charity Walking With The Wounded that aims to help veterans who don’t have a home to walk to this Christmas.
The annual event, which runs until Boxing Day, encourages participants to walk home from work if they normally drive or use public transport, or to otherwise get on their walking shoes and make a walk they wouldn’t normally do. This could be walking to a friend or family’s house for Christmas dinner, walking to a Christmas party, or to a sporting event or show. As well as helping to raise money for homeless veterans, participating might also shed some of those extra Christmas calories that most of us take for granted.
Mr Blessed, who served with 2 Squadron, RAF Regiment as a parachutist during his National Service, said: "I am honoured to be a brother-in-arms with these men and women. No-one who has served their country should be without a home, or at risk of being homeless."
“I'm very happy to loudly shout for those who need these valuable services to give them hope, new opportunities, and ultimately a home where their hearts can lie," he added.
Last year, the event saw 500 walkers walking a total of 5,000 miles – an average of ten miles each – and raising £100,000. The target this year is £250,000.
Andrew Cook, Director of Fundraising at Walking With The Wounded, said: “This will enable us to deliver five new homeless programmes across the UK ensuring beneficiaries are not precluded from gaining employment and financial security through a lack of housing."