Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
I’m Pete. I was a soldier for 10 years having served in the Royal Corps of Signals for 6 years, and, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) for 4 years.
During my time as a Radio Systems Operator in the Signals, I deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. While I haven't been through half as much as what some service personnel go through, I didn't come back the same mentally.
I got some in house support for the struggles I was having prior to commencing my nurse training with the QARANC. During my time as a student nurse and a registered nurse, I cared for civilians, serving military and veterans up and down the country. I had a couple of bad episodes mentally through what I experienced in hospital and what I hadn't processed from Iraq. This culminated in me being an inpatient at a mental health care facility for 4 weeks.
Shortly after this I was medically discharged from the army with post traumatic symptomology and depression. I thought being out of the Army would solve any issues, and I started working as a theatre nurse at the Leicester General Hospital. After 2 years I was experiencing similar problems to when I was in the Army. I was subsequently medically retired from the NHS.
I self referred myself to the charity Combat Stress: the veterans mental health charity. They diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I attended 2 residential therapy courses with them which gave me a better understanding of my condition and how to better manage it.
This gave me the confidence to start again and look for employment. I needed something as far removed from my previous careers as possible and looked towards barbering.
A mother and son ran shop, DJ’s Groom Room & Sandra May’s Hair Studio, took me for a trial period. They decided to keep me on and so I needed to gain the relevant qualification. I couldn't get government funding due to me having a nursing diploma. I turned to Help for Heroes to see if they could help or knew of anyone who could help with fundings. Help for Heroes in conjunction with SSAFA and my regimental associations manage to raise over £3000 to cover course costs and tools.
A year on i’m NVQ level 2 qualified working towards my level 3 and I also won Leicestershire Intermediate apprentice of the year. But more importantly i’m in a position to give back to these charities and support other veterans.
From November 1st 2017 until February 14th 2018 I will be wearing armour plates while going about my working day. I will be wearing them for 1 hour for every life lost on Operation Telic (Iraq) and Operation Herrick (Afghanistan).
633 LIVES LOST = 633 HOURS
Why choose to wear these plates. Everyone who has served has had to wear this type of thing while carrying out their daily routine. I believe this is a great way to show my respect for what they go through day in, day out. Also wearing such an overt bit of kit will getting people asking what it is and why am I wearing it. I also think it’s fitting to start this challenge in the run up to Remembrance Day, and also over the Christmas period, just as serving military will have too that are on operations during this time.
This countries military carry the burden of this and other countries safety. They do this with the physical burden of their kit and body armour. When they come home they carry the burden of what they have had to endure.
I hope if you're reading this you will give what you can, as I carry some of the burden in solidarity of all past, present and future servicemen and women, who are still with us and also those who gave up their all for us.
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