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Duchess of York sees off veterans heading to Himalayas trek organised by New Milton charity Pilgrim Bandits



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A GROUP of amputee and injured military veterans were given a royal send off before embarking on a 12-day confidence-boosting Himalayas trek to promote a New Milton charity.

The challenge was organised by the Pilgrim Bandits, which is based at the Stem Lane Industrial Estate and organises gruelling expeditions for injured service and emergency personnel to restore their sense of purpose.

Before setting off from Heathrow, the group was waved off by the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, and Pilgrim Bandits CEO Matt Hellyer.

Tyler Christopher with the Duchess of York
Tyler Christopher with the Duchess of York

"Our motto is ‘Always A Little Further’, because we know that pushing our team physically and mentally – when they have already endured so much – sees them rise above and beyond," he said.

"We don’t do sympathy, but we offer camaraderie and an adventure, and we believe in the power of humour over pain.

The challenge was organised by the Pilgrim Bandits
The challenge was organised by the Pilgrim Bandits

"We are going to need all of that to overcome such a challenging trek in the Himalayas."

Four of the group will also do a tandem skydive jump over Mount Everest.

Pilgrim Bandits organises gruelling expeditions for injured service and emergency personnel
Pilgrim Bandits organises gruelling expeditions for injured service and emergency personnel

Among the participants was former Lance Corporal Tyler Christopher, who was injured in Afghanistan in August 2009 after standing on an IED bomb. He lost both his legs above the knee.

He was accompanied by army veteran, Dean Bousfield, who was shot in the head by a sniper while serving in Afghanistan.

Four of the group will also do a tandem skydive jump over Mount Everest
Four of the group will also do a tandem skydive jump over Mount Everest

The bullet passed through his brain, exiting above his right ear and he is the only known survivor of a gunshot of this kind. In 2015, Dean made the difficult decision to have his left arm amputated due to paralysis from his brain injury.

Pilgrim Bandits (56564383)
Pilgrim Bandits (56564383)

Mr Hellyer added: "It is thanks to our fantastic supporters that expeditions like this can happen, and we would like to show our appreciation to all those that have continued to fundraise for us.

"We hope to continue raising awareness for the important work that the charity does, so that we can help more injured veterans in the coming months and years ahead."



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