THREE veterans attempting to improve the support given to ex-serviceman set off on an epic walking challenge from Bournemouth to London yesterday.

David Wood, of Help 4 Homeless Veterans, along with Daniel Johnson and Wayne Marland are walking from Bournemouth Pier to Westminster to present a letter to ministers.

The letter explains issues with the military covenant and calls for there to be more support for veterans.

The team are aiming to walk 20 miles a day, arriving in London to meet politicians on Wednesday morning.

Overnight they are roughing it in tents and sleeping bags.

Mr Wood, who helps provide housing for homeless veterans across the south, said: "The main point we're trying to change is the five year rule, because it isn't helping our veterans who have PTSD which is developed after 10 years.

"It's a big problem we come across in our charity because a lot of the veterans we house are not 'new veterans'."

After five years of leaving the armed forces, servicemen say they are no longer entitled to get help under the military covenant.

Mr Wood said the work Help 4 Homeless Veterans does continues to support many people in the local area.

"On Monday I took a veteran from Bournemouth, who was found by a friend of mine," he added.

"I had a conversation with him on Saturday and two days later I took him up to Barnsley where he has been able to start a new life.

"It makes a massive difference for the veterans and we don't just house them, we give them training to get in employment.

"We can turn their lives completely around within a year from being on the streets to being in full time employment."

Mr Johnson, who served in the 16 air assault brigade in Afghanistan in 2006, received a rosette award and operational service medal in 2007 for serving as a battlefield ambulance driver, picking up wounded soldiers and corpses and taking them to Camp Bastion.

He was sleeping on the streets for more than two years until Help 4 Homeless Veterans stepped in to help.

"I have a passion to help Help 4 Homeless Veterans after they came to my aid," Mr Johnson said.

"I was suffering from post traumatic stress from being in Afghanistan and left on the streets by Wiltshire Council.

"I contacted 17 other charities who didn't really assist.

"When I contacted Help 4 Homeless Veterans they came down the next day, challenged the council, got me into housing and got me on a path where I could recover.

"One of the things that really stands out in my mind is when David came he put his arms around me and said everything is going to be okay.

"From that moment on seeing his dedication and passion for veterans has made me want to do the same thing by coming on this today."

While completing the challenge, the team are also fundraising for Help 4 Homeless Veterans.

Donations can be made at