Prince Harry praises charity expedition team who ‘know what service is’ after announcement

Prince Harry rebuked over his statement on Afghanistan

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Prince Harry wished “good luck and good weather” to the six men taking part in the upcoming Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) expedition. The Duke of Sussex has been an enthusiastic supporter of this charity for years and is the patron of the Grenadier Walk of Oman, the expedition that was set to take place through the hostile Omani desert.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the journey has already been postponed twice and, rather than run into the risk of pushing it back again, WWTW decided to reimagine the walk in the UK.

This will give the chance to the team to showcase the value of veterans, raise awareness on veterans’ issues and collect funds for the charity.

The six-man team is made up of both currently serving and former military personnel bearing mental or physical wounds.

While they will not face the gruelling Empty Quarter, one of the toughest regions on Earth, they will still cover the 400km distance planned – but in half the time.

During their reimagined expedition, the team will walk through the Thames Path and Pen-Y-Fan.

Following the announcement the expedition is to go ahead in the UK, Prince Harry said: “The team at Walking With The Wounded understand that it’s not about where you walk — it’s about walking together with a common purpose and shared mission.

“These men and women know what service is, they’ve seen and overcome adversity, and they won’t let obstacles get in their way.

“They are paragons of inspiration for communities everywhere.

“We wish them good luck and good weather.”

Speaking about the difficulties surrounding the walk in Oman, WWTW’s CEO Fergus Williams said: “The Grenadier Walk of Oman was set to be an incredible expedition across the great sands and the team have been training phenomenally hard in preparation for the desert trek.

“However, the continued uncertainty around the global COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions mean that we have had to make the difficult decision to change our plans.

“That said, WWTW is excited to be bringing the expedition home to the UK and allowing the team to put their hard work to the test, demonstrate how those who served can overcome adversity and raise vital funds to support those who served.”

Oman is currently on the UK Government’s red list, which means people are being discouraged from travelling to the country and need to self-isolate in a hotel for 10 days following their return.

In past years, Harry joined some of the charity’s ventures.

In 2011, he took part in the WWTW journey to the North Pole and two years later he was among the expedition team members heading to the South Pole.

In 2015, he walked a 17-mile stretch through the English countryside near Ludlow in Shropshire during the WWTW’s 1,000-mile Walk of Britain.

Raising awareness on veteran’s issues and supporting service personnel are causes particularly close to Prince Harry’s heart.

During his 10 years in the Army, the Duke of Sussex served two tours in Afghanistan.

Before stepping down from the Army to take on royal duties full time, Harry founded the Invictus Games, a multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans.

Moreover, Harry spearheaded the development of the mental health platform HeadFIT, which supports the mental wellbeing of military members.

After the Taliban took back control of Afghanistan in the midst of the evacuation of Western forces, Harry reached out to veterans to urge them to “reach out to each other and offer support for one another”.

In a joint statement with the CEO of the Invictus Games Dominic Reid and the Invictus Games Foundation’s chair Lord Allen of Kensington, the Duke said: “What’s happening in Afghanistan resonates across the international Invictus community.

“Many of the participating nations and competitors in the Invictus Games family are bound by a shared experience of serving in Afghanistan over the past two decades, and for several years, we have competed alongside Invictus Games Team Afghanistan.

“We encourage everybody across the Invictus network — and the wider military community — to reach out to each other and offer support for one another.”

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