ARMY veteran Amyas Godfrey is training to run the London Marathon in full combat assault gear to raise money for a charity close to his heart.

Mr Godfrey, who lives in Great Cheverell, near Devizes, wants to donate at least £3,000 to the charity Combat Stress which was set up to support veterans with mental health problems,

He said: “The reason I am doing this is to highlight awareness of what I am calling the ‘soldier’s burden’.

“We ask a lot of our armed forces and while many servicemen and women are enhanced by their experiences some come away carrying a burden that stays with them. A mental burden such as PTSD, stress, anxiety or depression.”

So the father of two, who served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq, will wear the 25kg combat assault order gear as he takes on the streets of London on April 26.

In 2015 he wore the same outfit when he ran the Bath Half Marathon to raise money for Combat Stress.

He is training hard and can be seen running around the lanes and hills wearing an increasing amount of kit as he builds up to the 26.2 mile challenge in London. On the day he will wear boots, combats, body armour, helmet, webbing and day sack

He said: “Training is going well and I have a lot of support already.” His fundraising page shows he has raised £1,886 of his £3,000 target.

Mr Godfrey, who left the army 15 years ago, said: “I have lost two soldiers to suicide from my original platoon of 28 men. We’ve lost more from the regiment, army and military besides. Over the years I have found that an increasing number of soldiers that I served with are starting to show the mental scars of those years of service.

“I chose to leave the army and I was lucky. I wasn’t physically wounded or killed and 15 years on I look back fondly and with pride at my years of service, not with fear or anxiety.

“ I was lucky but please wish me continued luck – combat assault order is a third of my entire body weight and running in body armour and helmet is not particularly comfortable – but it is nothing compared to living with PTSD, and I want to do my bit to continue to help my fellow comrades.”

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