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Prince Harry to welcome wounded veterans after 1,000-mile trek of Britain

A group of wounded Afghanistan veterans will be welcomed home from an "epic" 1,000-mile trek of Britain by Prince Harry today as they reach the finishing line at Buckingham Palace.

The six ex-servicemen and women have travelled the length and breadth of Britain over 72 days since starting the arduous journey in Moray, Scotland, in August.

The veterans have been joined by Prince Harry twice along the walk and other wounded personnel each week in different parts of the country.

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

The group will end the walk along The Mall before being greeted by Harry on the forecourt of the Palace.

Among them are three victims of IED blasts in Afghanistan, amputees and two who suffered traumatic brain injuries - another lost an eye.

The trek through mainland UK has seen them reach the summit of four peaks - Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon and Pen Y Fan.

The challenge was launched earlier this year at a reception attended by Prince Harry, who called the walk "formidable" and "epic".

In September Harry joined the team of four Britons and two Americans for a 17-mile leg which took them through picturesque Shropshire, near Ludlow.

One of the group, Alec Robotham, is a 29-year-old former Royal Marine who was left with arm and leg injuries when he was blown up by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2010.

He welcomed Harry's presence on the walk, and said the pair had enjoyed "everyday chat" about military life.

Harry has supported WWTW 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.

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

The group arrived at the Palace with their partners and children at 10.30am to clapping and cheers.

Prince Harry hugged and congratulated them, before joking about how they had missed the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday.

Hearing they had missed the Twickenham clash, Harry said: "You missed it? If you're going to finish the day after the Rugby World Cup you may as well have watched it."

Matt Fisher, a former member of the Rifles, said he thinks he might feel "lost" after completing the 10-week trek.

He said: "I have been staring at the map of the route for the last six months. Now we'll go back home and and I will feel a bit lost.

"We have had some incredible experiences and we all need to reflect on that."

He praised Harry's support of the walk as "amazing" and said the Prince is "the man" for the armed forces.


From Belfast Telegraph