During the summer, participants from organisations supporting veterans across Wales took part in a Walk of Memorable Honour. The event saw a number of walks and cycle rides taking place across the country covering the equivalent distance as that from the Troop Café in Llandudno to Cardiff Castle. These activities were to celebrate three years of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust’s (AFCFT) Positive Pathways Programme, for which Adferiad Recovery was the strategic lead in Wales, and to raise awareness of veterans’ mental health. The event drew to a close with a final walk from the Principality Stadium Cardiff to a small reception in the Firing Line Museum at Cardiff Castle.
The idea was taken from ‘A Country of Memorable Honour’ written by Thomas Firbank, himself a veteran. Thomas began his army career as a Coldstream Guard in the second World War. At the end of the war, as Lieutenant-Colonel, he commanded the Airborne Forces Depot on the Isle of Wight and received the Victoria Cross during his service.
In his book, Thomas recounts a walk he undertook from north to south Wales, talking to those he met along the way and discovering his Welsh roots in the process. In much the same way the veterans taking part in our Walk of Memorable Honour spoke to people they met during their walk/cycle ride about veterans’ mental health and how they felt about it. The the veterans then recorded these conversations in their daily journals. We plan to collate and publish these records in a book to raise awareness of veterans’ mental health.