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Ex-soldier puts this back in to long slog

PUBLISHED: 16:51 31 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 23 August 2010

A FORMER soldier is walking from Land s End to John O Groats to raise money for charity despite suffering from a severe back condition. Peter Harris, 49, of Singlewell Road, Gravesend, hopes to raise £4,000 for Help for Heroes from his 1,147-mile walk, w

A FORMER soldier is walking from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for charity despite suffering from a severe back condition.

Peter Harris, 49, of Singlewell Road, Gravesend, hopes to raise £4,000 for Help for Heroes from his 1,147-mile walk, which begins on Wednesday.

Known to friends as "Bomber", he will take on the gruelling challenge despite suffering from spondylolisthesis - a back problem caused by misaligned vertebrae.

He said: "It's going to be a tremendous challenge, but also a great way to see the country.

"Having retired, I wanted something to throw my energies into and I can't think of a better way to enjoy my time out after my job.

And Mr Harris had no doubt which charity he would be walking for. He said: "Before joining the police 28 years ago, I served five years in the First Battalion of the Royal Green Jackets.

"All these years on, I still feel an immense connection and sense of pride at having served with such an outstanding regiment, where loyalty and esprit de corps were paramount.

"Having monitored the recent campaign in Afghanistan, the overwhelming courage and valour they displayed, along with so many other thousands of soldiers, touched the very core of my soul.

"This, together with personal ties with people suffering PTS [post-traumatic stress] has been the driving force behind my decision and determination to make this tribute."

Mr Harris will average 18 miles a day, staying in B&Bs and youth hostels, and will stick to an off-road route in order to take in as much of the scenery as possible.

His route will take him from Land's End, along the south Cornwall coast and through Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor.

He will then trek to Bath and over the Malvern Hills, Cotswolds and along the Staffordshire Way before tackling the Pennines through to the Scottish border.

The last few days of the walk will see Mr Harris take in the spectacular views of the West Highland Way before making his way to John O'Groats.

If you wish to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/bomber-harris where Mr Harris will also keep a blog of his expedition.

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