Veterans and their families took a walk on the wild side to raise money for two life-changing military charity.

Members of the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, were joined by representatives of Walking With the Wounded, for their annual Walking Home for Christmas event at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve on Saturday.

Santa Claus himself even turned up for the fundraiser, and was joined by the charity's mascot Hero Bear, Boris the Badger and the town's MP Will Quince.

Ann Scott, communications officer for Help for Heroes, said: "This major fundraising drive will help support wounded, injured and sick veterans who are at risk; some battling unemployment, isolation and struggling with their mental health.

"At Christmas these challenges can often be compounded.

"We wanted to get involved to raise much needed funds but more importantly bring veterans and their families together at a fun event."

The event also brought together the wider community, with dozens of residents turning up in support.

Tyler St-George, 22, who has autism and ADHD, walked 20 miles from his home in Clacton because he was so determined to join in with the event and raise money for his heroes.

12-year-old Mark Cole, of Witham, begged his mum Tracy to bring him along as he wanted to shake the hand of a veteran - so far he has raised £200 in sponsorship.

Mr Quince said: "Not only is Help for Heroes a fantastic charity that works across the UK but we’re so lucky to have a Recovery Centre in Colchester.

"It was a great opportunity to talk with staff and veterans from Chavasse VC House but also to thank the volunteers for the amazing fundraising that they do."

The money raised from the campaign this year will be split between the two charities and used to pay for vital support for veterans across the area and further afield.

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