Tuesday 23rd April Total time taken: 15 days, 17 hours, 13 minutes (2 days , 3 hours, 37 minutes faster).
Homelessness and crisis among Britain’s veteran community are nothing new. Much of the nation’s navy and army was laid off at the end of the Napoleonic wars. Within ten years homelessness and destitution in this community were so acute that the government’s solution then was to pass the Vagrancy Act of 1824 making it illegal to sleep rough or beg in England and Wales.
Over a hundred years later the problem remained largely unresolved. The Veterans Aid charity was founded in 1932 to address exactly the same problem. Astonishingly, nearly 200 years after the Vagrancy Act was passed, the problem still persists well into the 21st century.
This year Veterans Aid celebrates its 90th anniversary and continues to provide immediate assistance to homeless veterans in crisis. As a veteran I consider myself fortunate to have a roof over my head and have my basic security and safety needs met. Others I have served with in Northern Ireland, the Persian Gulf and the Balkans are not so fortunate. They deserve our help.
Veterans Aid is one way to give it to them.
So, this year (in my 60th!!!) I am throwing myself back down the classic Grande Traversée des Alpes long-distance GR5/55/52 hiking route from Lac Léman to the Mediterranean in an effort to beat my 2019 time of 18 days. I’ll be doing it solo and sleeping rough under canvas to ward off the corrupting influence of comfort. The route is approximately 725km long with some 130,000′ of ascent and descent. The last time I did this I was convinced it would be impossible to do it any faster. I was three years younger then and I’ve spent much of the pandemic as a University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust vaccinator with the Trust’s mass vaccination team in Plymouth. Jabbing and not tabbing, as it were. So, I expect this to be extremely arduous and would be most grateful for any contribution you can make to help our veteran community.
PS Once you have donated you can follow the trail of blood live via satellite by clicking here: my Garmin satellite tracking page