Published: 00:01, 02 June 2018
A veteran from Faversham is setting off on an epic 1,000-mile journey across America today.
Kemsley Whittlesea is one of three British ex-servicemen taking part in Walk for America in aid of Prince Harry’s charity Walking with the Wounded.
The group, who will be joined by three American veterans, will walk from the country’s west to east coast in just over three months.
Starting in Los Angeles and finishing in New York on September 6, their journey will take them through some of America’s most iconic cities and landmarks, including Chicago and Yellowstone National Park.
Mr Whittlesea, a former pupil at the Abbey School, served with the Royal Signals for 15 years until he was medically discharged due to a shoulder injury.
His time in the army includes tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The group, who plan to walk between 15 and 30 miles each day, hope to increase awareness of the mental health challenges faced by veterans while raising funds for Walking with the Wounded.
Mr Whittlesea, 31, said: “I’m really looking forward to it.
“I wanted to do this because I have got a lot of friends who have PTSD. It’s good to get out there to raise the awareness for it.
“Every time I have been on tour, I have been attached to the Americans so it’s also good to be doing this with them.”
He said it felt ‘awesome’ when he was selected, after two interviews, and has since been getting to know some of his team members as well as Prince Harry, who he met at a launch event earlier this year.
He said: “He’s really nice. We were meant to have a quick 15-minute chat but we sat with him for a good 30 to 45 minutes,” he continued.
“He took the time to read up about us, and he knew everything about us.
“I have always wanted to live in America. I can’t wait to get out there and meet the rest of the team.”
About 30 to 40 people are expected to join the Walk for America team over the course of the challenge, including some celebrities.
When he returns to the UK, Mr Whittlesea plans to move back to Faversham and work as a tattoo artist.