Text us your news! Start your message Warrington News and send any photos or videos to 80360
Veteran aiming to open charity
8:11am Friday 12th October 2012 in News
A VETERAN aims to open a charity shop and furniture restoration project in Warrington to raise money for a £2.5million residential crisis centre.
Ex-soldier Mark Smith is hoping to help others who suffer from combat stress, after he suffered from the condition for a decade.
He said: “I want to provide a safe haven where those in crisis can receive support from experienced workers, meet people with a related background, have their own room and feel free to walk around nice gardens, with waterfalls in a tranquil setting, and then when coming out of crisis can return home to function once again within their environment.”
Many veterans suffer from post traumatic stress disorder which can lead them to recall life-threatening incidents.
Mark wants to help these people who are in trouble to realise they are not alone.
The 51-year-old himself suffered with combat stress in 1998 having served 10 years as a full and part time soldier, first with a Royal Artillery Commando Unit, then air defence, followed by a stint as a part time Paratrooper, with several tours of Northern Ireland as a Close Observation Unit.
He then became a bodyguard and team leader for Pinkertons Security USA/Europe and personal bodyguard too many famous film stars, then while he was head of security with McLaren F1 race team he was taken ill, lost his job and began suffering from symptoms of combat stress.
As a patient at Combat Stress, Mark wrote a poem called ‘Blue Apples’ which amazingly has been adopted and talked about by others. At the Combat Stress centre at Audley Court in Shropshire, many trees now bear blue apples.
Mr Smith, of Chester Road, said: “I know from experience, when I was at Combat Stress many grown men cried, because they had to return home, the experience is amazing to able to meet others with a military background who have a similar illness, very soon you start to realise you’re not the only one.”
He hopes to open the shop in Warrington town centre as soon as possible and with the support from Combat Stress and other sympathizers he hopes to quickly raise the funds for the residential centre.
For more information about the charity or if you would like to help, check out the website blueapplescharity.org.uk or the Facebook page, Blue Apple Ex Forces Support Group.