The Long Walk Home
The Long Walk Home is Haig Housing’s national event commemorating the centenary of the ending of the First World War. The event will consist of a pilgrimage by foot of 100 Veterans and Serving Personnel from across the United Kingdom who will walk the 100 miles from the Menin Gate in Ypres to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, timed to arrive for the National Service of Remembrance on Sunday 11th November 2018. Planned as a mark of respect to those who died in the Great War, it will also raise funds for the charity. It is also an important milestone for Haig Housing which has been in existence since 1916 and obtained it’s subsequent name as a memorial to Earl Haig soon after the Great War.
Each of the Walkers will be taken to Ypres in Belgium - scene of three major battles and Headquarters of the British salient in the First World War - where they will begin their journey home. Over the next four days they will walk over a hundred miles from Ypres to the Belgian coast and thence to Dover. The journey will continue for the next 3 days across Kent, moving from Dover to Faversham; next day on Gravesend and on the final day into London. On the Saturday night before Remembrance Sunday the walkers will stay in at the St Giles Hotel London, before marching to the Cenotaph the following morning.
Along the route from Dover to central London the people of Kent are being asked to host the Walkers in pairs overnight in a ‘Call to Arms’ and with a show of the ‘Dunkirk spirit’ that proved so important for Britain in the Second World War.
Along the way it’s hoped that the Walkers will be joined by the public, politicians and celebrities to raise awareness of this momentous centenary and to raise funds for the charity.
Haig Housing Chief Executive, Brigadier James Richardson MBE comments:
“Haig Housing Trust started its life to meet the needs of Veterans returning from the Great War. Prime Minister Lloyd George campaigned to build homes fit for heroes and ever since Haig has striven to do just that. The Long Walk Home recognises the great sacrifice given by so many in that war and its pilgrimage to walk the route from Flanders to the Cenotaph to take part in the National Act of Remembrance by today’s Veterans will be a poignant commemoration. We hope that the public and in particular the people of Kent give support and encouragement to this event.”
General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO, Chairman of Cobseo, The Confederation of Service Charities adds:
“2018 marks the centenary of the end of the Great War, the aftermath of which saw the creation of so many of the well-known organisations still supporting the Veterans community and their families today. This centenary of the first Armistice will therefore attract much attention as the Nation stops to remember, not just the sacrifices of the Great War, but those who have given so much in all subsequent conflicts.”
“Haig Housing Trust’s The Long Walk Home is a perfect way to commemorate this anniversary and raise awareness of Veterans’ housing issues. This poignant pilgrimage joins the memory of events in the British salient around Ypres during WW1 with Whitehall and the Cenotaph where our National Remembrance is centred. The Walkers will meet the challenge and hopefully be supported and encouraged along their route, raising awareness of Veterans’ housing issues. I wish them and the Trust every success.”
We Need Your Help!
We need to enlist 100 Walkers, 150 hosts across Kent and other Support Volunteers in a Variety of Teams. For information, please use the links on the top left hand side of this page.