Former ex-soldier and firefighter just days away from completing incredible challenge which ends at Northamptonshire pub
“If it wasn’t for the charities that I am raising money for, I can safely say I wouldn’t be here today"
A Northamptonshire veteran with PTSD who has been walking 10km while carrying 30kg every day during the coronavirus lockdown to raise money for charity is just days away from completing his challenge.
Gareth Humphrey , which he hopes will inspire others to get active and started last week.
The 40-year-old ex-soldier and firefighter from Brixworth is supporting SSAFA and Changing Minds with his challenge has raised more than £2,000.
By April 17, Gareth will have walked a distance of 1055km, 655 miles or 25 marathons.
On his final 10k, Gareth will be increasing the weight he carries from 30kg to 60kg. This signifies the body of someone who has died from the effects of PTSD.
Gareth said: “If it wasn’t for the charities that I am raising money for, I can safely say I wouldn’t be here today.”
Gareth will end his challenge at The George Inn, Brixworth. The pub will be running a charity BBQ marking the first Saturday of pubs being allowed to open and restrictions starting to lift.
Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gareth was diagnosed with PTSD following a breakdown in February 2020, after 17 combined years in both the Army and Fire and Rescue service.
Gareth found himself living alone in a caravan relying on food banks and charity handouts to survive. SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity managed to get housing sorted for Gareth just before Christmas and now Gareth wants to give back to others in the Armed Forces and inspire people to get moving in lockdown within their safe restrictions.
Gareth said: “I actually hit rock bottom. If it wasn’t for the charities that I am raising money for, I can safely say I wouldn’t be here today.”
“Like so many others, especially as we move through the pandemic, mental health ‘the invisible injury’ is often seen as a weakness or miss understood. I hope with my actions to raise awareness and money to help others that unfortunately find themselves in my situation.”
“I have been walking every day since the third lockdown and have not missed a day! As I have progressed through the challenge, I have realised how many different people I have impacted and encouraged to get outside. From speaking to and reading people’s comments I now feel a responsibility to help others keep positive throughout this lockdown period.”
You can follow Gareth’s journey and watch as he documents this process through videos on Facebook.
SSAFA is there to support the serving, reservists, veterans, and their families. If you need help, please reach out: ssafa.org.uk/get-help/forcesline
A fundraising target of £1,000 was set and Gareth has already smashed this, with the total now currently standing at £2,290. If you would like to donate, go to Gareth’s Just Giving page