Veteran Mental Health Nurse walks 500 miles to support veterans in need

An Isle of Wight-based former serviceman, turned Mental Health Nurse has been walking 500 miles across the UK to raise money for veteran’s mental health charity Combat Stress.

35 year old Rory Wheaton, joined the Army at 18 and served 5 years in the Royal Engineers, including tours of Afghanistan, before returning to civilian life as a Mental Health Nurse.

After leaving the army, Rory saw first-hand the mental health impact of service on some of his friends, and how difficult it was for them to talk about it. Someone from his regiment sadly took their own life. As a result, doing a fundraising challenge for Combat Stress was a no-brainer for Rory.

On his motivations behind this challenge, Rory said:

“It’s been a long time since I’ve challenged myself physically and my waistline is showing it! I love a good hike and walking has always been something that I’ve found is profoundly good for my health, both in body and mind, so I thought why not walk from North England (where I’m partly living) to my mother land on the Isle of Wight. 500 miles… but no, unlike the Proclaimers I do not intend to do 500 more…

“When I began planning this ramble, It was solely for my own purposes and then I thought, hold up I could do something good here and try and raise money and awareness for veterans suffering with mental health, a cause that is close to my heart. 

“This is a cause I feel very personally connected to, having seen and known men and woman that have struggled with their mental health due to these circumstances. Accessing care or even talking about these issues can be extremely difficult for a multitude of reasons and so my hope is to help raise funds for a charity that is already out there making it easier for veterans to get help, to feel they can talk and feel supported when it gets hard”.

After his challenge, Rory said:

“It has been tough both physically and mentally but also incredibly rewarding in many ways. I have walked through multiple severe blisters and currently a shin splint in my left leg, but it has been worth it to raise money and to see some wonderful parts of the UK and meet some truly welcoming, friendly, caring people along the way.”

Rory finished his challenge on Wednesday 5 October, after 36 days straight days of walking. He raised approximately £2500, far surpassing his £1000 target. His fundraising page can be found here:

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