Duo trek 'like tramps' from Ottery St Mary to highlight plight of homeless
PUBLISHED: 16:01 19 December 2015 | UPDATED: 12:49 21 December 2015
Military men take the long route home for Christmas, sleeping rough along the way, to raise funds for charity
A father and son team left Ottery to walk 120 miles home for Christmas ‘like tramps’ to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people.
Retired army officer Tom Sawford and his son, Lieutenant Patrick Sawford, of the Royal Irish Regiment, received a blessing from the Reverend Steve Weston at Ottery Parish Church, before embarking on their fundraising mission on Tuesday morning.
The pair will trek from the parish, along byways, footpaths and green lanes, begging for their food and sleeping rough along the way for five days until they reach their hometown of Winchester.
Their goal is to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related homelessness.
They have also set a target of collecting £5,000 for two charities - the veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress and Winchester Churches Nightshelter for the homeless.
Tom said: “We have chosen to do this just before Christmas because we hope it might raise awareness of the plight of people who are homeless as well as those who suffer from PTSD. We will walk as tramps, living off the goodwill of strangers and sleeping rough in order to meet the goal of raising £5,000 for two charities that work tirelessly to assist those who struggle with these issues.”
Friend John Fisher, of Toadpit Lane, was up at first light to see the walkers off on their journey home for Christmas.
He said it is not the first time the pair have walked and slept rough for the cause. He described how, last time, they survived by sleeping in church doorways
To find out more or donate, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/likeatramp