Two of the soldiers revealed by Prince Harry to be taking part in military charity Walking With The Wounded’s ‘Walk Of America’ expedition this summer will be making their first public appearance in Grasmere on the Royal Wedding Day.
Kevin Carr, 35, and Jonny Burns, 28, who are currently based at a homeless residence in Catterick will be at the charity’s Cumbrian Challenge in Grasmere on the Royal Wedding Day, getting in some extra training miles ahead of their 1,000 mile expedition across the States.
The pair will be meeting and walking with hundreds of fundraisers at the event which sees teams of four take on one of three challenging routes in the Lake District alongside teams of wounded ex-servicemen and women.
Prince Harry officially launched the expedition in London on Wednesday and Kevin, from the Royal Logistics Corp, spoke shortly after HRH, telling how he came back from the brink of taking his own life after struggling with mental health issues.
The Cumbrian Challenge is now in its sixth year and will break the £1m barrier for money raised by the event for Walking With The Wounded’s programmes supporting ex-military back into independence and employment.
Kevin ‘Kev’, 35 is a resident of The Beacon, a specialist veterans support centre which aids single veterans who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness. Kev went into the Army at the age of 17 immediately after leaving school, serving with The Royal Logistics Corps and was posted to Germany at the age of 18.
He was discharged from the military 14 years ago due to medical reasons, having missed a tour to Bosnia due to a snapped ankle and mental health issues. He went AWOL for 2 weeks in 2003 having been evicted from his property after being unable to pay the rent.
Moving back in with his parents but with an alcoholic father and drug addicted brother, ‘home’ was not an environment in which he thrived, which led his mental health to deteriorate even further resulting in suicidal thoughts in August last year. This led to the subsequent admission to The Beacon, where has been a resident since August 2017.
Kev commented: “I feel honoured and privileged to be part of this unique challenge and have the opportunity to help other veterans and raise awareness that there is support available – no-one should suffer in silence.”
Jonny, 28 is currently a resident of The Beacon, a specialist veterans support centre which aids single veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Jonny served with the Royal Anglian for 8 years. After being medically discharged in 2016 due to a shoulder injury and mental health challenges, Jonny began sofa surfing immediately after leaving the forces as he had no home to go to. He served in Germany and Cyprus for 8 years and originally decided to join the Army at a young age to find a sense of identity, purpose and belonging, having been removed under police protection from the care of his parents.
Jonny commented: “I am very excited to be given the opportunity to be on the Walk Of America team. As much as it will be amazing to explore America and visit some amazing places it will also give me the opportunity to highlight the support open to veterans in the UK that may be suffering in silence. Just because everything looks good on the outside does not always mean that everything is ok on the inside. It is very easy to put a front up and pretend everything is ok but through my own experience I know that if these issues are unresolved, they do come back and cause problems later in life.”
To find out more about the Cumbrian Challenge please go to www.wwtw.org.uk/cumbria
To find out more about the Walk Of America please go to www.walkofamerica.com