A FORMER soldier slept rough for two days to raise awareness of the hardships ex-servicemen and women can face when leaving the services.

Ryan Bamforth, from Horwich, slept on the streets for 48 hours as part of a personal mission to help veterans.

The 41-year-old left the armed forces in 2017 starting his challenge at 6pm on Saturday and finishing on Monday.

Ryan, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was in the Remembrance Day Parade in Horwich.

Money raised from the sleep out will go to supporting the Royal British Legion.

He said: "“There are a few things in this country that bring everyone together and unite them.

“Remembrance Sunday does just that and it really shows the love we have for our forces.

“But for hundreds of our veterans, the struggle goes on.

“My priority was to raise awareness of the struggles that many soldiers, veterans and their families have undergone.

“Soldiers suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and so even if we can just help one person through raising awareness, we can save a life.

“I do think there are times when we don’t give our troops the support that we could.

“The Royal British Legion is extremely close to my heart, which is why it was my chosen charity.

“There are several other great charities, such as Scotty’s Little Soldiers and Veterans United Against Suicide, that help a lot of people.

“The sleep out got difficult after the march on Sunday, when the streets got quieter and everyone started working again.

“I hope to do the same next year, but with more veterans and on a larger scale.

The veteran, who went on to set up his own dog grooming business Barking Bamforths, was humbled by the support he received during his two-day challenge.

Ryan even got invited to join in a gym class with Hands On Fitness in Horwich.

He went to Iraq in 2003 and then was deployed to Afghanistan a few years later.

So far, Ryan has raised more than £1200 for the Royal British Legion (RBL).

He has set up a JustGiving page for people wishing to donate: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ryan-bamforth-rbl