A FORMER army officer from Dorset is taking on an epic walk to help homeless ex-servicemen.

Harry Bucknall is a former Coldstream Guards officer and travel writer from Child Okeford near Blandford.

He will be walking 130 miles from his Dorset home to London with friend Jock Davis, a sergeant in the Metropolitan Police, in aid of Walking with the Wounded’s homeless veterans appeal.

Mr Bucknall said he had been ‘appalled’ to learn that some of his former colleagues had lived rough and said he wanted to help.

Mr Bucknall is no stranger to long walks – his 1,400-mile trek from Canterbury to Rome was recounted in his book Like a Tramp, Like a Pilgrim.

Mr Buck-nall and Mr Davis will start their long walk to London tomorrow and are expected to take six days.

They are due to arrive in the capital on Friday, December 19.

There to greet them at the steps of the Royal Exchange will be a ‘pop-up’ carol event, featuring the Bishop of London, the Band of the Coldstream Guards and the Military Wives Choir.

Figures from the charity show that one in 10 homeless people are military veterans. Since 2010, the charity said that the number is rising.

Walking with the Wounded helps to fund programmes to help ex-servicemen back into work. They have four projects running at present and want to establish six more in 2015 at a cost of £40,000 each.

Mr Bucknall said: “I was appalled to learn that two of my own former Guardsmen had spent time living rough after leaving the Army.

“I would have moved heaven and earth to help them. I hope my walk will save others from sim-ilar hardship.”

He added: “This ende-avour is in aid of homeless ex-service-men who have nowhere to go at this special time of year.

“They gave for you – so please give for them. It’s the very least we can do. ”

To sponsor Mr Bucknall and Mr Davis in their walk, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving and search for Harry Bucknall.