Prince Harry ‘changed everything’ for charity Walking with Wounded

Prince Harry's message to Walking With The Wounded team

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Harry, himself a veteran, has made it his mission to help as many ex-military personnel as he can. In 2014, he set up the Invictus Games, which looked to provide those who had been injured during service with a platform to compete in various sports. More recently, he sent his support to a team of six veterans who are ready to embark on a 400km expedition for charity.

Walking with the Wounded aims to raise awareness around both physical and mental struggles veterans may experience following service.

Founded by veteran Ed Parker in 2010, its main aim is to help veterans make the transition into civilian life.

This weekend, five ex-military personnel and one current serviceman — all with mental or physical wounds — will walk 400km in ten days, from Hereford to the Anglo-Omani Society in London.

The group were originally meant to travel to Oman, but travel restrictions have prevented them from going abroad.

In 2013, Parker reached out to Harry and, much to his surprise, the Duke accepted his invitation, completing a trek with the group to the South Pole.

It was this participation, Parker previously told, that “changed everything” about the charity.

He said: “It was supposed to be a one-off, just walk to the North Pole, make some noise and raise some money and go away, but with Prince Harry becoming involved as he did, that rather changed the dynamics of everything.

“And so subsequent to that, with the money we’ve raised and the profile we’ve managed to achieve, we found a niche in the military charities sector, which is very much in the complex end of need, and so we support those who have really struggled with the transition and have multiple needs.”

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He added: “I invited [Harry] to join us in walking to the North Pole, which clearly changed the dynamics of the visibility.

“What he brought with him was focus and attention and the media, but also his ability ‒ as then he was a serving soldier ‒ to articulate very clearly the support he had for the other men and women who were serving or had served.

“And he is very passionate about his links to the military community, so it gave us a hugely increased visibility.”

Harry served in the army for ten years, carrying out two tours of Afghanistan in 2008 and 2012.


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Since Walking with the Wounded began, he has been patron of every expedition undertaken.

The Walk of Oman was meant to see the travellers cross part of the fabled Empty Quarter in Oman — the world’s largest sand desert.

They would have trekked in temperatures between 32 and 35 degrees celsius each day, dragging behind them a trolley of supplies weighing 300kg.

But due to the coronavirus pandemic the plans were turned on their head.

They will instead make an equivalent trek on home soil.

Despite the setbacks, Harry is patron of the ‘Walk of Oman’.

Parker noted that this has proved to him and the crew that, despite having left the Royal Family for North America, Harry remains committed to the cause.

He said it means the royal is, “acknowledging their value and he will contribute where he can to the overall success of it”.

The CEO noted why raising awareness is so important in 2020, and explained: “The walk gives us an opportunity to tell the stories of the six individuals who are taking part.

“They have very diverse and different backgrounds, and have been through different experiences which are useful for us to be able to relate to a wider audience to demonstrate what veterans do have to overcome.

“The military, we’re probably getting a little less relevant in the eyes of many, because the wars are drifting into the past and COVID and clearly brought attention onto the emergency services ‒ and they are the new hero, which is a word we’ve never really bought into ‒ but the attention has turned to blue light workers and NHS staff, which is completely understandable.

“But those who served in the military who have challenges to overcome haven’t suddenly got better as a result of this and we still need to do the work that we do and in order to do that we have to keep raising money.”

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