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'PTSD is one big pressure cooker' former soldier offers helping hand to other veterans

PUBLISHED: 07:30 06 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:18 08 November 2018

Gary Stockton has launched a project in Colchester to help veterans suffering with PTSD Picture: PHOENIX HEROES CIC

Gary Stockton has launched a project in Colchester to help veterans suffering with PTSD Picture: PHOENIX HEROES CIC

Archant

A Colchester man has set up a community interest company to help veterans suffering with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Gary Stockton with Curtis Tyler of BFBS Radio in Colchester  Picture: PHOENIX HEROES CICGary Stockton with Curtis Tyler of BFBS Radio in Colchester Picture: PHOENIX HEROES CIC

Gary Stockton spent more than 20 years serving in the Royal Logistics Corps where he reached the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1.

In 2009 he left the army and went on to found Phoenix Heroes PTSD Veteran Support in July, 2018.

Mr Stockton hopes that the project will get veterans back into work and has secured patronage from several companies and figures, including former SAS soldier Mark Billingham

He got the idea after helping his daughter give out food to the homeless in Colchester.

Gary Stockton whilst he was serving in Northern Island in 1990 Picture: GARY STOCKTONGary Stockton whilst he was serving in Northern Island in 1990 Picture: GARY STOCKTON

He said: “It wasn’t a massive effort but we were just giving out clothes to the homeless on Christmas Eve.

“The more people I spoke to the more I realised that so many of them were veterans, that is all down to PTSD and it triggered something in me.”

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder caused by stressful, frightening or distressing events and is common amongst those who served on the frontline.

Despite there being many charities who look to offer support to veterans living with PTSD, Mr Stockton believes Pheonix can offer something different.

Phoenix Heroes was set-up by Mr Stockton in July, 2018 Picture: PHOENIX HEROES CICPhoenix Heroes was set-up by Mr Stockton in July, 2018 Picture: PHOENIX HEROES CIC

“Family is key for us,” he said. “When an ex-army guy or girl comes home their family take the brunt of the problems caused by PTSD.”

Mr Stockton wants to use Phoenix Heroes to get veterans into projects that allow them to open up and socialise.

He has been in contact with Hawk Farm, in Weeley, Essex, which helps vulnerable adults by using equestrian projects.

Mr Stockton said: “Once we get them socialising we can identify what industry they want to work in, decide whether they need training or not and we can then use our networks to get them back into employment.

“I’m not a professional psychologist but I am an ex-squaddie so I can relate to these people better, we have that connection.”

Mr Stockton is looking to use his experience in the events industry to get veterans employed.

He continued: “At the end of the day PTSD is a pressure cooker, I want to take that pressure away.”

Mr Stockton recently raised £121.29 from two collections on October 6 and 13, and hopes this will contribute to the thousands required for him to set-up his projects.

To support Phoenix Heroes visit the website make sure you also like their Facebook page.

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