Former Royal Engineer John developed PTSD as a result of his service in Northern Ireland, which went undiagnosed for many years.

John joined the Royal Engineers when he was just 18; serving back-to-back tours in Northern Ireland at the height of The Troubles. He then served as a reservist in the infantry between 1982 and 1984. As a result of his service in Northern Ireland, John developed PTSD which went undiagnosed for many years.

In more recent years, John has been introduced to Finchale – one of our many partner charities – which offers focussed support to veterans in the north east.

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.

“It’s given me a new life which enables me to cope with the old one.”