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Incredible ex-serviceman honoured for his battle to combat post-traumatic stress disorder

PUBLISHED: 16:38 09 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:50 09 November 2019

Army veteran and former prison and fire officer Nigel Seaman started the Combat2Coffee business with school friend Andrea Jelley  Picture: OLIVER SULLIVAN

Army veteran and former prison and fire officer Nigel Seaman started the Combat2Coffee business with school friend Andrea Jelley Picture: OLIVER SULLIVAN

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An awe-inspiring former soldier had the crowd in tears after collecting a Stars of Suffolk Award for his support to help veterans' mental health.

Stars of Suffolk Armed Services Award winner, Nigel Seaman, pictured with award sponsor Simon Illet from Cipher Crystal Picture: BRITTANY WOODMANStars of Suffolk Armed Services Award winner, Nigel Seaman, pictured with award sponsor Simon Illet from Cipher Crystal Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder more than three years ago, inspirational former Royal Anglian Nigel Seaman set up mobile coffee shop Combat2Coffee in a bid to raise money for veterans and their families - and help them open up and deal with poor mental health.

Still experiencing challenges himself, Mr Seaman was reduced to tears as he was handed the Armed Services Award at the gala evening at Greshams Ipswich on Thursday - adding if it wasn't for the support of other veterans like him, he wouldn't be alive.

But clearly it wasn't just the audience on Thursday who were inspired by his business venture, as his company has grown from one to three mobile units, sent to events across the country in a bid to raise awareness.

Receiving his award, Mr Seaman said: "I'm incredibly humbled, but I don't do what I do to win awards. I do this for the people out there like me who are going through hard times."

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Mr Seaman, who is in talks to open up a fourth mobile unit, hopes to sell his coffee in supermarkets to help yet more veterans in need.

Alongside training veterans to become baristas, every cup or bag of coffee sold sees money donated to Combat Stress - an armed forces charity that provided counselling after an injury saw him unable to work.

He added: "My family really struggled when I was poorly and that's the biggest thing for me. I don't want other families to go through what we've been through together. Families undeservedly become victims too.

"This award gives me yet more confidence to continue what I do, and continue to encourage people to talk about their mental health - as there really isn't anything people should be scared about.

"Life is about second chances - and thankfully I've been given that chance."

Not knowing who had nominated him for the award, Mr Seaman admitted he has been overwhelmed by the support of his friends, family and the general public.

Mr Seaman added: "I have no idea who nominated me for the award, but I really want to thank them. I still have my bad days, but to know people support what I do is one of the best feelings in the world."

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