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Harry to join forces' charity trek


Prince Harry will deliver a short speech at the launch

Prince Harry will deliver a short speech at the launch

Prince Harry will deliver a short speech at the launch

Afghanistan veteran Prince Harry has announced he will walk with five wounded service personnel on part of their 1,000-mile (1,609km) trek around Britain later this year.

The Walk Of Britain is designed to raise awareness of the work of the charity Walking With The Wounded, which supports injured members of the armed forces back into independence through employment.

Harry met the team of four men and one woman at a reception at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge, central London, to launch the challenge.

The event came shortly after it was confirmed that Harry will end his military service in June after a four-week secondment to the Australian Defence Force in April and May.

In a short speech, the Prince said: " It is an honour to be stood on this stage as we announce that Walking With The Wounded is coming home to walk amongst the people they have helped and the communities who have supported our armed forces so enthusiastically.

"I'm delighted to say that I will be joining the team for a small part of their journey and I'm hugely looking forward to it."

Harry said the British trek would be just as difficult as previous expeditions around the world.

"Walking With The Wounded has given men and women the opportunity to push themselves to extremes in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth - both the Poles and Mount Everest," he said.

"The challenge we are launching today, although closer to home, is no less formidable in scale - walking 1,000 miles around Britain.

"The public's support for our armed forces continues to be extraordinary. However, as the memory of our military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan fade, we must encourage people to continue supporting our servicemen and women, particularly those who are seeking to transition into civilian life.

"This process can be challenging, as it is for anyone seeking a new career. As I make this transition myself, I'm determined to do all I can to help others."

Harry has supported the charity since it was formed, taking part in a trek to the North Pole in 2011 and South Pole in 2013. He was also patron of its Everest expedition in 2012.

Those taking part in the walk will engage with local communities every day to highlight the determination of wounded personnel and raise awareness of the work the charity is doing in the community to support them.

The five will be joined by other wounded personnel each week in different parts of the country.

The walk will start on August 22 in Scotland and finish in London on October 31.

Harry has said his experience in the Army will stay with him for the rest of his life and he considers himself "incredibly lucky" to have had the chance to carry out challenging roles.

In the autumn, he will volunteer with the Ministry of Defence's Recovery Capability Programme, supporting the rehabilitation of wounded, injured or sick service personnel where he has worked previously, while he considers what to do next.

The Prince's decision to leave the Army was a surprise to many as he is a passionate member of the forces who had always dreamed of being a career soldier even as a young boy.

During his 10-year full-time military career, he went on two tours of duty to Afghanistan and qualified as an Apache aircraft commander.