A former Royal Navy seaman from Aberporth will walk the width of Wales to highlight the challenges faced by veterans this Christmas.

Matt Cope, 37, is planning an epic journey across Wales from Abergavenny, over the Brecon Beacons, to his home town in time to join his family for the festive celebrations.

Matt, who experienced mental health problems following his medical discharge from the Navy after injuring his leg, will be using his 80-mile trek to raise awareness and funds for two charities who gave him the support he needed during his darkest times, Help for Heroes and Walking with the Wounded.

Matt and pal Bobby Simmons from Cilgerran are undertaking the challenge to give something back to the charities Matt believes saved him.

Matt said: “The sad reality is that if I hadn’t got help when I did, I don’t think I’d be here now.

“The care was phenomenal, I have gone from not being able to cope with everyday life to the point where I have started my own business.”

Matt and Bobby work together regularly as tree surgeons, and Bobby has been inspired to support his friend after seeing how Help for Heroes has helped Matt, and others like him, find new purpose in life after their discharge from the army.

The pair will set off from Abergavenny, where they have been working for several months, heading to Crickhowell then Brecon and on to Llanbrynach before they head into the mountains.

They’ll take on Fan Y Big, Cribyn, and Pen Y Fan, before they go to Storey Arms, Sennybridge and following the A40 to Carmarthen.

The walk will take place between December 19 and December 23.

He is also appealing for anyone who can help provide him with kit to help out as he’ll be camping in the mountains along the way

Matt is undertaking the challenge as part of Help for Heroes and Walking with the Wounded’s national fundraising campaign.

To make a donation to Matt’s fundraising efforts, go to walkinghomeforchristmas.com, where you can also sign up to your own fundraising challenge – which can be as short or long as you want it to be.

To donate kit or equipment to help Matt and Bobby take on the elements please email admin@rsarb.co.uk

The Help for Heroes Pathfinder Experience, which was Matt’s first step in his recovery, is now available through Help for Heroes Wales Community Recovery team.

For more information contact helpforheroes.org.uk