John, 65, served in the Royal Engineers from 1970 – 1974. He joined the Army when he was 18 years old and deployed on back to back tours of Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles. John also served as a Reservist in the infantry between 1982 – 1984.
His more recent PTSD diagnosis, he attributes to this period of service. He lived with the symptoms of PTSD for many years and faced difficulties; he was hyper-vigilant, anxious and found day-to-day life challenging.
In more recent years, John has been introduced to Finchale training college. The college offers focussed support to veterans in the north east, one of the charities supported by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. John is in recovery from deep-seated, long-term trauma.
John began to find therapy in art and decided to apply for a three-year BA (Hons) degree course in Fine Art at Teeside University. John specialises in sculptures. With thanks to the Trustees of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Charities (Limited), The Soldiers’ Charity stepped in to help John with a bursary to help him with living costs whilst he studies. He makes a 46-mile round trip to University for lectures and tutorials.
John finds his course both stimulating and rewarding and is coping with the emotional aspects of studying and socialising with other students. Having this creative outlet has been life changing for John, allowing him to forget about his worries and anxieties while he’s in the studio.
John says: “It’s given me a new life which enables me to cope with the old one.”