General Sir Peter Wall, former chief of the British Army and president of soldiers charity Combat Stress, is calling on more members of the public to take part in the #22PushUpChallenge and help raise 1 million for the veteran s mental health charity. As reported last week by The Courier, the challenge started in the US to create awareness of mental health issues among veterans, and participation in UK is just as important to support Britain s ex-servicemen and women. Since Combat Stress started supporting the challenge last month, more than 80,000 has been donated to the organisation, the UK s leading mental health charity for ex-servicemen and women.
Sir Peter, who turned 61 last month, is undertaking the challenge and is well on the way to doing 22 push ups every day for 22 days.
He is now asking for the public s help to raise vital funds for Combat Stress. Last year the charity saw a 6% increase in referrals, and a 28% increase the year before that. With a growing demand for its specialist clinical treatment, Combat Stress urgently needs to raise more money to ensure every veteran seeking help receives the best support possible.
Sir Peter said: The support from the public has been strong and will make a real difference to our work. We know that far too many veterans suffer in silence with their mental health conditions, and this #22PushUpChallenge will help us to reach out to them by raising awareness of PTSD and the treatment available. With more public donations Combat Stress will be able to deliver a vital service to many more veterans across the UK. We have to do this to prevent unnecessary suffering.
If you haven t already taken part in the challenge, then why not start this week? It s a great opportunity to get behind the Armyrats © military community and show your support. With the summer weather we re currently basking in, it s the perfect time to go outside, take part in a fun challenge and donate to Combat Stress. People can get involved by doing 22 push ups full, half or even air push ups and donating 5 to Combat Stress by texting PTSD22 to 70004. If people would like to share a video on social media of them taking part in the challenge, they can use the hashtag #22PushUpChallenge.
Bridgwater Police Constable doing 22 press ups every day until Christmas for Combat Stress
A BRIDGWATER police officer is taking on a hardcore charity challenge to raise vital funds. Tony Freeman, who is currently serving at a police constable in Avon and Somerset Police, is doing 22 press ups every day until Christmas Day. He is raising money for Combat Stress, who treat Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety.
Tony recently completed the 22 day press up challenge, which people have been doing and documenting their progress on social media. He then decided to continue the challenge, and will have done more 3,000 press ups when he is finished. Tony said: “After completing the 22 day press up challenge which raised awareness for troops suffering from PTSD, I decided to raise money for Combat Stress.
“I am currently six days into my 143 day press up challenge, finishing on Christmas Day.
“I will have completed 3,146 press ups including those on Christmas Day.
“Donations can be made via myself or my Justgiving page.
“Please donate to this worthy charity and help motivate me to keep going and raise as much as I can.
“I will be posting daily publicly through my Facebook account.”
To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Tony-Freeman4
A FORMER soldier who was determined not to lose his leg after he was seriously injured in battle is celebrating a major recovery milestone. Matt O Neil, a former Corporal in the Royal Corps of Signals, was in the Territorial Army (TA) reservists when he was called up to serve in Helmand Province in 2008. During a routine patrol, his vehicle was ambushed by a rocket propelled grenade, killing two Afghan soldiers and injuring others including Mr O Neil, whose right leg was shattered from the knee down.
Doctors said it was too severely damaged to save, but the 41-year-old, who grew up in Darlington and attended Eastbourne School, fought to keep the limb and has battled ever since to regain use of his leg. His long rehabilitation has involved numerous metal implants and skin grafts, during 12 operations within the first six months of his injury. He also suffered a further blow to his recovery when he broke his damaged leg in 2011.
Now Mr O Neil is finally fighting fit again and is celebrating completing his Sports Diver qualification with the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC). The father-of-two, who served in the Army for seven years prior to joining the TA, now wants to become a scuba diving instructor with BSAC. He says scuba diving has restored his confidence, and he now hopes to inspire other wounded servicemen and women in the future by teaching them to dive.
He said: It was a brilliant experience.
There were always lots of these things going on and I d never been able to do them before because of all the metal work and plaster on my leg.
It was always considered an infection risk. It was a relief do be able to do something physical.
It was very inspiring. They ve asked me to carry on with the qualifications with a view to next year doing the instructor qualification.
The idea is that we will become part of the training team. Mr O Neil, who received support from Help for Heroes, described the horrifying moment he received the injuries.
My leg was so badly mauled, he said.
When the vehicle went up everything we were carrying landed on my leg including the battery acid. It was so badly contaminated. I was rolling around in the dirt under fire.
I was operated on in Camp Bastion and they were going to take my leg off there and then but luckily I had an anaesthetist with me and before the operation I d told him to make sure they kept my leg. Mary Tetley, Chief Executive of BSAC said: It s wonderful to see people who have already been through so much, gaining new skills and confidence.