Former Sheffield soldier's 180-mile non-stop charity walk to support friend and former comrade

Josh Smart (pictured first from left, front row), Ben Barton and the rest of the BRF squadron.
Josh Smart (pictured first from left, front row), Ben Barton and the rest of the BRF squadron.
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A former Sheffield soldier will lace up his walking shoes for a gruelling 180-mile journey to raise money for the charity which has helped his former comrade who was wounded in battle.

Josh Smart, 26, will walk from his home in Gleadless to the home of his friend and former squadron pal Ben Barton in Leatherhead, Surrey after he was injured fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan in February 2013.

The duo were part of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force and Ben was providing cover for his section on the roof of a compound when he was shot in the wrist by a ricocheting bullet.

As his section worked to protect and evacuate him, Taliban forces continued fire and Ben broke his neck.

Now, more than five years on Ben suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder and sought the help of Combat Stress - a charity which supports veterans adapt to civilian life.

Josh said: "To see my dear friend in such a way has hurt me. It's heartbreaking but seeing him on the road to recovery is the best feeling in the world.

"I spoke to his wife and she said he was in a dark place and as a mate that's when I knew I needed to do something and needed to go and see him.

"I told him about my idea to walk to his house and asked him which charity had helped him the most and he said Combat Stress. He said he was happy for me to do it and although this will be a difficult challenge both mentally and physically, this will be nothing compared to what Ben and many of our fellow soldiers have and are still experiencing."

Josh said he hoped to complete the non-stop walk over the August bank holiday weekend and has already raised more than £1,400 of his £4,000 target.

For more information or to donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sheffield2leatherhead