Plymouth NHS worker taking on 725km hike to raise money for veterans charity

Miloš Stankovic will be carrying 11kg in his backpack during his journey as he takes on 130,000 feet of ascent and descent Credit: NHS University Hospitals Plymouth Trust

A Plymouth NHS worker is taking on a 725km hike to raise money for a charity for veterans.

Miloš Stankovic works at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP) and is mid-way through the solo trip through the Grande Traversée des Alpes to raise money for Veterans Aid.

Miloš previously served in in the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment of the British Army for twenty years, before he retired with the rank of Major.

He then joined UHP during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and worked as part of the mass vaccination team, before becoming a senior healthcare assistant.

But his latest challenge is now the GR5, otherwise known as the great hike, and will see him carry 11kg in his backpack during the journey, which includes 130,000 feet of ascent and descent.

It is all to raise money for the Veterans Aid charity, who are celebrating their 90th anniversary this year.

The trek, which began on 8 August 2022, will see Miloš walk hundreds of kilometres over multiple days as he travels down from Lac Léman to the Mediterranean.

It isn't Miloš’ first time navigating the route, but this attempt sees him taking the challenge further by travelling solo and aiming to beat his previous best time of 17 days, 20 hours and 50 minutes set in 2019.

Miloš said he's hoping to raise money for the charity to tackle the problem of homelessness among veterans.

He said: “Homelessness and crisis among Britain’s veteran community are nothing new. Much of the nation’s navy and army was laid off at the end of the Napoleonic wars. 

"Within ten years homelessness and destitution in this community were so acute that the government’s solution then was to pass the Vagrancy Act of 1824 making it illegal to sleep rough or beg in England and Wales.

“Over a hundred years later the problem remained largely unresolved. The Veterans Aid charity was founded in 1932 to address exactly the same problem. Astonishingly, nearly 200 years after the Vagrancy Act was passed, the problem still persists well into the 21st century.

“This year Veterans Aid celebrates its 90th anniversary and continues to provide immediate assistance to homeless veterans in crisis."

Miloš added: "As a veteran, I consider myself fortunate to have a roof over my head and have my basic security and safety needs met. Others I have served with in Northern Ireland, the Persian Gulf and the Balkans are not so fortunate. They deserve our help. Veterans Aid is one way to give it to them.”