A FORMER Herefordshire rugby player is teaming up with former team mate and SAS veteran Ken Hames MBE to raise money for homeless veterans.

David Perkins, 52, who played for Luctonians RFC, whilst living in Wigmore, near Leominster, is joining the former Royal Marine and SAS officer turned TV presenter on an epic 302-mile cycle across the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the Andulucia region of Southern Spain.

Ken Hames MBE is a familiar face on television and has built a formidable reputation as a presenter of challenging and extreme adventure programming.

"The Trek" launched Ken Hames' television career in 1994.

The adventure series followed twelve disadvantaged youngsters to the heart of Africa on a 500 mile journey through desert and mountainous terrain with the help and encouragement of the late Princess Diana who described Ken as "the master practitioner in the field of training and development."

Mr Perkins will join Mr Hames on a cycling challenge starting in Gibraltar and taking in climbs in the Sierra Nevada mountains totalling 8600m.

This is just shy of the summit of Everest which stands at 8848m.

He said: "This is way out of my comfort zone as I am far from being a lycra clad weekend peddle warrior.

I am further hampered by having the aerodynamics of a house brick and carrying historic rugby injuries sustained over the years - but duty calls."

Mr Perkins has already raised money for the event, having been presented a cheque for £1000 by ex England rugby captain Sir Bill Beaumont at a recent Fylde RFC v Luctonians rugby match.

He has also shaved his hair off and donated it to Hereford based charity the Little Princess Trust to raise money for the project.

The cycling event is to raise funds for veterans charity Alabare, who support homeless veterans in a unique way, by teaching them how to build their own homes.

This, in turn, teaches them a skill and in doing so help these people integrate into society thus providing them with a future.

The charity also provides support to those veterans that are contemplating suicide as a way out.

Mr Perkins has also been through some tough mental challenges, including depression. He says that he got through that time through the support of his family and friends, and having a roof over his head.

He said: "I can relate to the feeling of isolation, with no end in sight or any light at the end of what, at the time appears to be a never-ending tunnel.

"If I had not been blessed with my support network then I am not embarrassed to say that my life could have been very, very different and possibly a great deal shorter... some are not as fortunate as me."

"When the call from Ken came, it all clicked in to place and it all made sense for me to support this charity.

"I can’t think of anything more humbling, rewarding and critically important than to help those who have given so much and are suffering as a consequence, in the here and now."