Wigan ex-soldiers taking on gruelling 268-mile Pennine Way trek in full kit for mental illness charity

Two former soldiers from Wigan are donning full military gear once more for a gruelling cross-country trek which will help to battle mental illness.

Friday, 14th June 2019, 1:34 pm
Updated Friday, 14th June 2019, 2:34 pm
Kieran White and Jordan Grice

Jordan Grice, from Abram, and Ince resident Kieran White will take on the 268 miles of the Pennine Way from Derbyshire to Scotland in aid of charity Minds at War.

The duo will wear their full uniform and carry everything they need on their backs during the 10 exhausting days of the physical ordeal.

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Kieran White and Jordan Grice

Jordan and Kieran both spent time in the army but admit this challenge, which is being done to support veterans with post-traumctic stress disorder (PTSD), may well be tougher than anything they had to do while serving their country in the forces.

Jordan also revealed the charity trek is partly a personal quest and spoke of the toll PTSD takes on those who have been on the front line.

Jordan, 28, said: “Minds At War are doing really well, they’ve saved 28 lives already and a friend of mine has been dealing with them. I’ve lost two friends this year to PTSD so we thought it was time to make a stand.

“It’s extremely hard adjusting back to civilian life. It’s hard to find someone to talk to. The armed forces is like a brotherhood and you can’t find that on civvy street.

“We’re trying everything we can to help people as much as we can.

“I got medically discharged so I lost my full support structure. It was a big blow when I lost my appeal.

“My unit all went to Cyprus and I was still in North Yorkshire on my own.

“Kieran and I are taking on the Pennine Way and it’s no support, we’re backpacking everything we need.

“I genuinely think this is going to be up there as one of the toughest things I’ve done in my life. The average is 16 days to complete the Pennine Way and that’s taking minimal stuff and stopping off to replenish. We’re hoping for 10 days and maybe even getting it lower than that.

“We’re going to be carrying around 25 to 30 kilos, though it will go down as a lot of it will be water and food.”

Kieran and Jordan grew up together and although they both ended up in the armed forces they took different routes to get there, with Jordan serving in the infantry and Kieran, 27, as an engineer.

Jordan served from 2007 to 2015 while Kieran joined in the same year but left around 12 months earlier.

The two trekkers, who are both now electricians, will have a waterproof bivvy bag for sleeping but Jordan expects coping with little rest will be one of the obstacles they have to overcome.

The challenge begins in Edale in Derbyshire on July 19 with Jordan and Kieran making their way just over the border to the finishing point at Kirk Yetholm.

However, the duo also have plans to push themselves to the limit in even more extreme awareness and fund-raising challenges for PTSD charities.

Jordan said: “We’ve got our eye on a few things. One of them is to do a mile for everyone who has died in Afghanistan, which currently is about 450. If we can we’d like to finish that on Remembrance Day in November.”

For more information or to donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/our-journey or www.facebook.com/supportmyjourney/