A Royal Navy veteran from Aberporth is planning an epic journey across Wales in the depths of winter from Abergavenny, over the Brecon Beacons, to join his family for Christmas. 

Matt Cope, 37, is appealing for anyone who can help provide him with kit as he will be camping out in the mountains along the way, while fundraising for Help for Heroes and Walking with the Wounded – two charities which helped Matt when he experienced mental health problems following his medical discharge from the armed forces.

The walk will take place between 19 and 23 December.

Matt and his friend and colleague Bobby Simmons, from Cilgerran, are undertaking the daunting challenge because Matt wants to give something back to the two charities he says saved him. 

“The sad reality is that if I hadn’t got help when I did, I don’t think I’d be here now,” said Matt.

“The care was phenomenal. I have gone from not being able to cope with everyday life to the point where I have started my own business.”

Matt and Bobby work together regularly as tree surgeons, and Bobby has been inspired to support his friend after seeing how Help for Heroes has helped Matt, and others like him, find new purpose in life after their discharge from the armed services.

To donate, visit www.­walkinghomeforchristmas.com/users/matthew-cope

To donate kit or equipment to help Matt and Bobby take on the elements, email [email protected].

See this week’s south papers for the full story, available in shops and as a digital edition now