When my soldier friend came home from the first Gulf War, we threw him a ‘Welcome Home’ party. There was a sense of relief, good fortune, and rejoicing. For us, anyway. On our walk home, when he started punching trees, and then walls, it became obvious that while the war may be over for us spectators, it was far from over for the participants.
It’s relatively easy to train a man or woman to physically operate in a war zone, but what about mentally? It’s easy to see that someone’s been wounded if they’ve lost a limb, but psychological wounds aren’t always apparent, and it can take years for symptoms to manifest. That’s why charities like Combat Stress are such a lifeline to our Service Men and Women: the people who risk their lives in situations we can’t even begin to imagine, and then bring those memories back to their ordinary, everyday lives.
Combat Stress offers a range of free help to Veterans, serving members of the Armed Forces, and affected family members. From a helpline that’s open around the clock, to residential treatment for ex-service personnel, and various means of support in between. Their treatment programmes are proven to work, and you can read about some of their success stories here.
The Charity spends in the region of £15m each year on providing their various services, so as you can imagine they rely heavily on donations and charity events. Which is why I’m writing this blog post! My very good friend, Tara, of Tara Ross Events, has organised a Ball with an associated online auction in aid of Combat Stress, and I want to share it as far and as wide as I can.
Among the 50 Lots is something for everyone: whether you want to watch golf, or play it; fish with three of your mates on the River Tweed; jump out of an aeroplane with the Red Devils; stalk some deer; relax in some beautiful countryside; taste Pickerings Gin, or Innis and Gunn beer; visit the Royal Tank Regiment and get to grips with a Challenger 2 tank; or take your family to visit the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards for the day. There’s jewellery, signed books, family days out, and artwork too, and a very special guided tour of the Battlefield of Waterloo with historian Ian Gale.
Please have a look, and if you can, help this fantastic charity to keep supporting our ex-Servicemen and women, along with their families, to lead healthy, happy lives. Because surely that’s the least they deserve.