Former Sunderland soldier goes on run for armed forces charity

Simon Miller
Simon Miller

A former soldier is going on the run to raise cash for a services charity.

Simon Miller was left suffering from PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, after being injured during a tour of duty in Afghanistan and seeing many fellow soldiers killed in action.

Simon Miller during his time in the army.

Simon Miller during his time in the army.

Now, the 27-year-old has signed up to Walking With the Wounded’s Walking Home for Christmas campaign, which encourages people to sign up to do a walk to raise funds.

Instead of walking, Simon, who is dad to two-year-old Poppy, is planning to do a 10k run with full kit on to help raise funds.

Simon, a former Pennywell School pupil, joined the army when he was just 16 and eventually became a bugler with The Rifles.

But, during a tour of Afghanistan in 2010 he suffered leg injuries during an explosion and was medically discharged in 2012.

I felt that it was my fault that people got injured

Simon Miller

He said: “We were there for six or seven months and during that time lost 36 men.

“Later I started to suffer from PTSD. I felt it was my fault that people got injured.

“I couldn’t sleep and started drinking heavily and then started getting in trouble with the police.”

It was at this low point Simon was introduced to Walking With the Wounded’s Project Nova, which helps ex-service people get their lives back on track.

Now Simon, who works in a coffee shop, said he wants to take part in Walking Home for Christmas to help other former soldiers in the position he was in by raising vital funding.

He added: “I want to do it for myself as well, it gives me something to focus on.”

Walking With The Wounded’s mission is to support all ex-servicemen and women with physical, mental or social injury to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to develop new careers outside the military, re-integrate into society and provide long term security for themselves and their families.

With Christmas fast approaching, for many a time of financial pressure and loneliness, more ex-service personnel than ever require support.

Through Walking Home For Christmas the charity wants to raise vital funds for those wounded who have little to look forward to this upcoming festive season.

Andy Sloan, Events Manager at WWTW said: “Too many of our ex-military have little to look forward to this Christmas. They’ve walked in far more dangerous environments for us, so it is the least we can all do to organise a walk for them.

“We want people to throw on a Santa hat, call up old friends and raise some funds so that we can support these men and women back into work, back into independence and into a place where they can look forward to and enjoy Christmas with their families.”

Simon says: “Thanks to the support of WWTW I’m now employed. I’ll be working over the Christmas period, but on Christmas Day I’ll be with my family and those I love. This year, I’m looking forward to creating special memories.”

To sign up to Walking Home for Christmas, and do any sort of walk between December 8-12, visit wwtw.org.uk/Christmas.