They ﬁght our wars. We ﬁght their battles.
NEWS WWW.COMBATSTRESS.ORG.UK | NEWSLETTER OF THE EX-SERVICES MENTAL WELFARE SOCIETY | AUTUMN 2010
ON THE BIG SCREEN Break Point event surpasses all expectations
Registered Charity Number: 206002. Charity Number Scotland: SC 038828. Company limited by guarantee: Registration Number 256353
FUNDRAISING UPDATE JOSH LEWSEY ON EVEREST ENEMY WITHIN APPEAL REPORT EVENTS DIARY
COMMUNITY OUTREACH ROLLS OUT Inside one of our new Outreach teams, by the people who run it
with Chief Executive David Hill
The charity’s largest ever event screened the Wimbledon Men’s Final at 10 country houses on 4 July
Without you, nothing would be possible I’m constantly reminded of how fortunate we are to have so many dedicated, imaginative and tirelessly enthusiastic supporters. Without you, we simply could not carry out our essential work, and I’d personally like to thank each and every one of you who has helped us this year. You will be delighted to learn that the charity is in excellent shape, and that our plans to remodel the organisation are already starting to bear fruit. One of the most visible new elements in this process is the roll-out of our Community Outreach programme (see page 6 for more insight). Like me, you will also be pleased with the strong start The Enemy Within Appeal has got off to, making our ambitious £30m target now seem much more achievable! Other signs of remodelling over the year include the extensive building work taking place to upgrade and improve Hollybush House, Audley Court and Tyrwhitt House. Since the summer, our Veterans at Tyrwhitt House have been using part of the new Living Zone extension. Building work will continue into next year, but what has been achieved already has made a tremendous difference to the quality of life in all the treatment centres. We are especially grateful to Help for Heroes for their £3.5m grant to help make all this possible, and we look forward to welcoming Bryn and Emma Parry to the official opening of the Living Zone on 11 November 2010. It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Brigadier Tony Dixon OBE. Tony was Chief Executive for almost 10 years and will be remembered for his natural concern and caring nature. I offer his family our most sincere condolences. Finally, after much deliberation, I have decided to step down from my role of Chief Executive to spend more time at home in the North West. I will, of course, remain a staunch supporter of the charity for as long as I am able, and I hope you’ll welcome my replacement once he or she is appointed. I’m already envious of what lies ahead of them running this most vital of specialist charities.
2 COMBAT STRESS news | autumn 2010
The bigger picture Important new developments and prominent events are taking Combat Stress from strength to strength
ollowing the launch of The Enemy Within Appeal in March, the summer of 2010 proved to continue the busy and rewarding period for Combat Stress as the charity campaigned to raise awareness and funds.
• On 22 September, Combat Stress,The Royal College of General Practitioners and The Royal British Legion issued a new guidance to help doctors ensure that their ex-Service patients receive priority treatment.The action was taken to address the fact that two and a half years after ministers pledged fast-tracking for Veterans seeking NHS treatment, they are still not being given priority.The new guidance demonstrates how GPs can identify Veterans on their lists and encourages best practice when referring Veterans for further care. • Combat Stress has secured three-year funding and set up the following multi-disciplinary Community Outreach teams: Scotland East; Scotland West; Wales & Midlands; North East; North West and Anglia (see page 6 for our in-depth focus on the Anglia team). • In June, the Coalition Government confirmed that it would honour the commitment, announced in April, by the Department of Health to pledge £2 million to provide efficient planning of Veteran services in the UK, working closely with the voluntary sector. Some of the money will go towards improved education and training for GPs to help them identify Veterans who are suffering from mental health problems, and the information and skills to give them the best possible treatment. • On 4 July,The Honourable Mrs Sally Bedford and her committee ran the charity’s largest fundraising event: Break Point.The Wimbledon Men’s Final was screened at 10 stately homes around the country, raising over £270,000 for the charity (turn to page 9 for the full report).
email@example.com, 01372 587140
Money for old phones In partnership with Reclaimit, a leading electronic waste management company, Combat Stress has developed a scheme to turn your old mobile phones and empty printer cartridges into valuable funds. Simply put your old mobile phone(s) or empty inkjet cartridge in the envelope provided with this newsletter, and pop it in the post to Reclaim-it totally free of charge. Reclaim-it will then donate the value to Combat Stress. More envelopes or dispenser boxes can be ordered at
The line up of ‘Super Cars’ attracted much attention from passionate Italian fans
Wheels of fortune The SuperCarClub made Combat Stress one of its charities for the annual Giro d’Italia Run this year…
his five-day dash through Italy’s beautiful countryside in the most exotic vehicles starts in Florence and finishes in Casino Square, Monte Carlo. Gregory Bayliss Hollamby is the Director of luxury events company, the SuperCarClub, which organised the June 2010 run.The drivers covered over 200 miles a day on a route that took in spectacular mountains and coastlines, vineyards and historic sites. Thrillingly, many of the roads are the same ones used in the famous Mille Miglia open-road endurance race, one of the great motoring events of the first half of the 20th century. Highlights included private use
of certain roads and piazzas, the chance to gain extra points en route by solving cryptic clues, and some fantastic prizes donated by an impresssive array of sponsors. The locals joined in the fun too, and cheered on the Porsches, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, Bugattis, Pagani Zondas and, of course, Ferraris. Brigadier Ed Butler (former Commanding Officer of 22 SAS and 16 Air Assault Brigade) gave an after-dinner speech to the Club at the gala dinner in Monaco about his time in Afghanistan and his soldiers’ experiences. Best of all was that the event raised £53,000 for Combat Stress. www.thesupercarclub.com
The increase in demand for our services since 2005
The number of multi-disciplinary Community Outreach teams that have been established around the British Isles
The number of Veterans currently receiving support from Combat Stress, of which 400 served in Iraq and 102 in Afghanistan
Combat Stress garden gets silver medal
Hampton Court Flower Show Designer Fi Boyle and Dorinda Wolfe Murray of Independent Gardening created the most beautiful and tranquil garden for this year’s show, and for the specific benefit of the Veterans at Combat Stress. The garden won much acclaim from press and visitors alike, and the RHS judges awarded the pair a well-deserved silver medal. All the plants and materials have been transferred to the Surrey treatment centre at Tyrwhitt House, where the garden will be recreated to offer the ex-Service men and women a positive and therapeutic environment in which to spend time.
Recycle your electronic waste the easy way
With no sign of the demand for our services abating, we must continue to harness support for The Enemy Within Appeal, so that we can provide Veterans with psychological injuries, and their families, the right care, in the right place, at the right time
The Combat Stress Therapeutic Garden provides areas for contemplation
The average number of years Veterans wait before seeking our help
autumn 2010 | COMBAT STRESS news 3
-mile At the end of an 874 s cycle, that took ﬁve day and raised £4,500
Thank you Once again all our dedicated, imaginative volunteers have done the charity proud…
ver recent months a host of brilliant Combat Stress volunteers have put their time and energy into raising funds and awareness for the charity – whether by enduring the sweltering heat of the Sahara, skydiving over the Eiger, or simply selling home-grown produce at the garden gate. In whatever manner you decide to contribute, we love to hear about your enterprising endeavours, enjoy your stunning photographs and share in the experience. Here are just some of your remarkable achievements…
Garden Opera: An Evening With José Carreras Where Glan Arrow, Herefordshire What A sparkling evening of exceptional
opera was arranged and hosted by Mr Christopher James, featuring José Carreras and Britain’s foremost chamber opera company, Diva Opera. The party scene from Die Fledermaus was performed to an audience of around 150, and guests gave generously towards the evening’s chosen charities. Combat Stress received an excellent £44,000. Battle Proms Where At country houses including
Enjoying a Battle Proms event under blue skies. A total of £23,000 was raised at the six sho ws
Adam Foden having completed the London Marathon
Blenheim Palace and Althorp Park What This year’s Battle Proms were once again a great success, despite a couple of venues suffering from the lashings of a traditional British summer! A big thank you to the Chilli Piper (Mark Bisset), Sgt Redgrift and his colleagues from RAF Coningsby and everyone else who gave up their time to collect on our behalf. A massive £23,000 was raised at the six shows. Further thanks must go to Adam Slough and Beth Rees of JSL Productions, who invited us to collect, and who do the most amazing job arranging this annual musical extravaganza. Clay Pigeon Shoot Where Kent What An enormous thank you to those
who arranged, attended and donated to R Durtnell & Sons Ltd’s charity clay pigeon shoot. It was a tremendous event and thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. The resulting donations of almost £26,000 have been most gratefully received. Thames Charity Row Where River Thames What Robin Hope and his crew
successfully completed their Thames row in an 1895 double skiff. Their journey took them over 110 miles (and through 4 COMBAT STRESS NEWS | AUTUMN 2010
34 locks) from Cookham to Oxford and then on to Henley. Together they collected over £15,000 in sponsorship – and a special thank you must go to Nicholas Bentley, who raised more than £8,500 himself.
Vintage skiff and crew on the River Thames, raising £15,000 for Combat Stress
Simulated Clay Day Where Ramster What An extremely well-attended two-day
clay pigeon event at Ramster, a 17thcentury country house near Chiddingfold, Surrey, helped us raise £18,800. Many thanks to Rosie and Malcolm Glaister. Music In The Garden Where Hazelby House, Newbury, Berkshire What Patrick Hungerford held a charity
concert evening in these beautiful gardens raising over £15,000 for Combat Stress. Charity Ball Where Aberdeen What Catherine Ross organised a
spectacularly successful charity ball at the five-star Marcliffe Hotel. £20,000 of the proceeds were donated to Combat Stress. Chosen Charity Of Detica BAE Where Guildford and elsewhere What Thanks to all the staff at Detica for
choosing Combat Stress as their in-house charity. Fundraising activities include a winter ball, and a 10,000 poppy-making challenge! Total collected to date: a splendid £9,500. WWW.COMBATSTRESS.ORG.UK
Fundraising London Marathon 2010 Where Central London What Huge congratulations to all of
Brecon To Bastion Challenge Where Brecon, Wales What Senior Division from the Infantry
our 14 runners (George Rutherford-Jones, Helen Blake, Adam Foden, Simon Ford, Gary Watson, Andrea Lowe, Charlie Spencer, Lorna Clark, Malcolm Salmons, Hugo Ure, Owain Thomas, James McClung, Gary Cottrill and Peter Le Fevre) who raised an amazing £26,000 through sponsorship.
Battle School in Brecon completed a sponsored triathlon in aid of Combat Stress. Two teams covered an impressive 7,400 miles (the distance to camp Bastion, Afghanistan) by running, rowing and cycling over the course of 36 days.They raised an amazing £3,700.
British London 10K Where London What Last July, 96 Combat Stress runners
raised over £8,000, with money still rolling in. It was great that so many of you made it to the post-run picnic in the park too!
friends donned lycra and Combat Stress T-shirts to cycle from Tyrwhitt House in Surrey to the Cotswolds, raising over £2,000 to date.
Gutersloh, Germany What Well done to Richard Moody and
to all those at the Princess Royal Barracks for their marathon keep fit session in the NAAFI, raising £1,800.
Horse Shoeing Competition Where Waltham St Lawrence, Berkshire What Haitze and Helen Glover organised
another smoking-hot horse-shoeing competition (some of the farriers being exServices) to run alongside The Bell Inn’s annual Beer Festival.The day was a great success and they raised £2,400. Chara Challenge Where Dartmoor What 12 runners took part in this toughest
of challenges on behalf of Combat Stress – a 30-mile endurance race across Dartmoor, carrying 32lbs in a daysack – raising a very impressive £8,000. RAF Valley presentation Where RAF Valley,Anglesey What Back in June, Combat Stress’s
David Harding and his wife, Liz, were personally invited to RAF Valley by Station Commander Bruce Hedley. The base had kindly nominated Combat Stress as its chosen charity this year. It was a fascinating day, not least thanks to Flt Lt Kevin Brown, Adjutant 2008 Squadron, who gave a tour of the base.To top it all, David was presented with a cheque for £4,000, and a huge thanks must go to all concerned. www.combatstress.org.uk
The following supporters also achieved remarkable things recently:
Riding Home For Heroes Where Across England What Stuart Lloyd, Andy James and 28
36-Hour Keep Fit Where Princess Royal Barracks,
The sun shone on the horse-shoeing event in Waltham St Lawrence in June
Fitzwilliam String Quartet Concert Where Cheshire What A memorial concert performed by
the Fitzwilliam String Quartet was held by Guy Milner in memory of his wife Christine on the anniversary of her death, raising almost £1,400. Football In Midlothian Where Newtongrange Star FC, Midlothian What Thanks to Davie Brand for
arranging a fun-filled day of football and entertainment, raising nearly £1,200. Walking The West Highland Way Where Scottish Highlands What John Luke, Rob Sargent and Neil
Gatley walked the length of the Highland Way in Western Scotland, taking in such fantastic locations as Glencoe, Ben Nevis and The Commando Memorial and raising £1,650.
En route on the Highland Way – a 95-mile stretch in Western Scotland
Geoffrey Stanford (pictured above) competed in the 150-mile ‘ultramarathon’ Marathon Des Sables across the Sahara desert in Morocco (the longest single stage is a staggering 55 miles!), raising approximately £7,000 in sponsorship. George Hanbury and his father Nigel climbed both Mount Kilimanjaro and the Matterhorn, raising over £5,000 with more to come. Richard Brooke cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and with help from his father, John (who followed by car and arranged the fundraising), and donations from St Peter’s Lodge and Barr Beacon Lodge, helped to raise almost £4,000. Hugo Parkinson raised over £3,000 by competing in the Ironman Challenge, a swim, a cycle ride and 26-mile run that he completed in an impressive 13 hours, 34 minutes. After having completed the London Marathon in a fantastic time, George Rutherford-Jones and Benjy Barkes took on their next challenge, cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End, along with friends Callum McCall and Ed Thorne. They covered 874 miles in just five days and raised a fabulous total of £4,500. In addition, a warm ‘thank you’ to the following for their ongoing support: David Beet; Patrick Stripp; Bill Saunderson; Lizzy Hopson (Budgens Lyndhurst). Thanks also to Mr & Mrs Smellie (Golden Wedding Anniversary) and Mrs Josephine Kaye (birthday celebrations).
autumn 2010 | COMBAT STRESS news 5
Out & about with The A team Our new Community Outreach teams offer clinical and welfare support to help Veterans and their families meet everyday needs. We catch up with the busy Anglia team – to find out how and why this approach is working
he first of the new Combat Stress Community Outreach teams to be established in southern England is in the Anglia region, a vast tract of country that covers Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and much of Essex. More will follow, including a London team and another that handles the entire South West of the country, until Combat Stress has a network of 14 teams covering the entire nation. Meanwhile, Regional Welfare Officer Stephen Pettitt and his newly established Anglia team are discovering for themselves the most effective way to manage their daunting workload. Trials of a four-person team in Scotland worked well, and therefore Stephen’s team consists of himself, two mental health professionals – Community Psychiatric Nurse John Marham and Mental Health Practitioner
Alex McCall – and desk officer Janet Closier. Janet is based at the Combat Stress offices in Leatherhead and provides a first point of contact for many clients, as well as crucial office support for the team on the road. “I’ll gather clients’ medical reports from their GPs, or alternatively send them registration forms,” she says. “The Outreach team is on the road constantly, so this support is essential.” Indeed, with Stephen, John and Alex each covering around 800 miles a week, careful planning is needed to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Despite the size of their task, however, all four members of the team are thrilled with their new roles. “I’m getting busier and busier and loving it,” says John Marham. “I’m finally using all my skills, training and life experiences in an effective way.” Read on for an explanation of the team’s task in hand in their own words…
Each member of the Outreach team can cover up to 800 miles a week. An initial meeting from Welfare Officer Stephen can last up to four hours. Mental health is by no means all the Veterans are worried about – housing, and war pension application forms, etc, are also concerns. More often than not, all the client really wants to do is talk.
Stephen: “Having the Community Outreach team finally up and running gives me time to set up support groups and drop-in clinics in various towns in our region, say, or meet with local councils who may have a room we can borrow. I can also help NHS healthcare professionals better understand the issues we’re dealing with.” John: “The drop-in sessions are very effective, especially with those younger people who haven’t been out of the Forces for very long, and are suffering from adjustment disorders. We have volunteers who run the sessions – often Veterans themselves or perhaps their families – and we also guarantee to attend. A few weeks back, at the Peterborough drop-in, we had someone from MIND [the mental health charity] come and visit us, and the attendance was absolutely fantastic. We can’t offer full-blown therapies at these places, but
Community Outreach Team, Anglia Stephen Pettitt Ex-RAF Engineering Officer Stephen has spent four years working as a Regional Welfare Officer for Combat Stress.
John Marham John joined the Army at 16 and served 23 years in the Scots Guards. He trained as a mental health nurse at Homerton, Cambridge.
6 COMBAT STRESS news | autumn 2010
Alex McCall Alex retrained as a psychiatric nurse in his 40s having previously run a textiles business. He lives in Rutland.
Janet Closier I worked for the Marine Fisheries Agency in the Operations room, dealing with fishery protection and working closely with the Royal Navy.
we can do simple anxiety managements, give advice, and tell people how to refer themselves to Combat Stress. We’re setting up new ones across our area all the time – there’ll be one in Stevenage soon, and Colchester too.” Alex: “I feel I’m finally in a job where I can make a difference, which is why I got into nursing in the first place. At Combat Stress you can work without restraints, so if I think it will be effective to spend time going for a walk with a Veteran, I can do that – and so what if it runs over time? It’s all about seeing results rather than ticking boxes.” John: “Back in the Army I was the agony aunt for the entire unit – people would come up and talk to me all the time. People in every regiment have issues, but they rarely say anything – a chap will have a breakdown, but no-one will talk about it, and though they’ll stay in the job the perception is they’ll never get promoted again.” Stephen: “My first task with John and Alex was to take them to meet some of the Veterans we deal with, helping to establish their credibility. What happens now is that they’re taking on the clientele that geographically suits them – therefore, John mostly handles the south of our large area and Alex handles the north.”
Combat Stress has a current caseload of over 4,400 ex-Service men and women. In the last financial year alone, we received 1,303 new referrals.
“It’s hard for a civilian to understand how daunting some ex-Military can find the lack of structure in civilian life” John: “If you give squaddies a fag and a coffee they’ll start talking to you, but hit them with fancy therapies or try to impress them and they’ll clam up. When I worked at the NHS I’d do Saturday nights. We’d get in pizza and the war stories would come out. Afterwards one or two would always come up to me and ask if they could have a quiet word. You need to bring the barriers down.” Stephen: “I often see clients who say, ‘I’ve seen this councillor or psychologist, and what the hell do they know about Iraq?’ They like to know we’re exServices, because they think that enables us to understand them a bit more. Alex was concerned when he joined us that he didn’t have that, but the fact that he was involved in setting up the military wing at Peterborough Hospital gave him credibility. “Sometimes it’s good for the clients to be forced to deal with people who aren’t military – after all, they’re not soldiers anymore, and part of our role is to help them connect with civilian life.”
Alex: “It’s true. I was worried that because I’m not ex-Services they might not accept me, but now I’ve gone full circle and actually think it’s an advantage. Amongst Veterans there can be that ‘us and them’ culture and you’ve got to break it down, because they’re civilians now whether they like it or not. I see part of my job as almost de-militarising them. Of course, I want them to keep all the good bits – the high standards, the diligence – but they’re used to things happening in black-andwhite, and I’m saying, ‘Listen, life is all about shades of grey.’” John: “Throughout my NHS nurse training I was constantly told, ‘You’re not in the Army now’, which got on my nerves, because I really didn’t think I was acting like I was. But when I was on the wards, any squaddie who walked in would immediately gravitate towards me. That’s when I first became aware of just how many Veterans end up with mental health issues.”
autumn 2010 | COMBAT STRESS news 7
Community Anniversary Outreach feature you’re going to get. It’s a big thing to ask someone to drag up past events that will be extremely distressing for them.” John: “The average age of a combat Veteran is under 24, and they’re leaving the Army earlier, which means they’re still young and fit. The good news is that their problems can be easier to treat because they haven’t had time to manifest into full-blown illness; with older guys their problems are more deep-seated.” Stephen: “The younger lads are starting to admit they have a problem and come to see us sooner: I say, ‘You don’t want to see me for long. You want to be at a stage where you shake my hand and walk away and we never talk again, unless you want to.’” Alex: “So many people have no grasp of what depression is and what the symptoms are. They’re not sleeping or eating properly, they’re drinking to excess, they’ve lost all their family, but still say, ‘I’m not depressed’. Well, all the symptoms suggest that you are.” Stephen: “I see a maximum of three clients a day. You need between one and a half and four hours for an effective visit. I see all our clients regularly over a number of years, trying to schedule in a meeting every six months or so, whereas John and Alex see them in more intense bursts over just a few months or weeks. They then assess what further treatment – if any – they need.” John: “Alex and I tend to see our clients fortnightly. I’ll set up four visits and then assess the situation, as with any nursing. If I think they’re deteriorating I can contact support from Combat Stress or the NHS system, as appropriate.” Alex: “Combat Stress is not in the business of trying to become a substitute for the NHS; rather, we have to find effective ways in which to work with them. I’m sitting down with people looking at their lives in a holistic way, using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) techniques and now EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapy. EMDR does sound a little bizarre when you first hear about it – but for many people it works. It’s a bit like REM, where you’re asleep but your eyes are dancing about; with EMDR the theory is, put simply, that your brain is making sense of events and filing them away in the right places. We’re just scratching the surface of our understanding of the human brain.”
Stephen: “It’s hard for civilians to understand how daunting some exMilitary can find the lack of structure in civilian life. They think, ‘What happens now? Where do I have to go on Monday morning?’ Similarly, in the Forces you have a bunch of mates around all the time that you simply don’t get in civilian life. It can help to get an ex-Serviceman to join something – the danger is they’ll just mope about. This feeling affects so many people coming out of the Services we have a name for it: adjustment disorder.” Alex: “The older guys tend to be far more stoic about it all: they’re of a culture where you just get on with things, which is not necessarily healthy. A lot of the time you have to deal with the alcohol or the highly expressed emotional issues in the family home before you can even touch the PTSD.” John: “We have formal assessment tools that we use, but you soon develop a sort of ‘Spider-Sense’, like Spider-Man’s. If something feels wrong, it usually is wrong. All mental health nurses seem to have it: it’s a sort of tingle, and when you get it you start to probe, see what it is you’re responding to.” Alex: “We use a range of evidencebased trauma-focussed therapies. We have to do a very thorough assessment before even trying, because when you open things up you don’t know what
8 COMBAT STRESS news | autumn 2010
In addition to their work on the road, the team meet up for a monthly planning meeting in which they discuss the list of forthcoming clients. They also attend regular meetings with a line manager to go over best practice, and an annual conference in the UK.
Stephen: “At Combat Stress we’ve seen almost 100,000 people in our time, but there must be a million others we didn’t have to see because, for whatever reason, they weren’t affected in the same way. Equally, a guy may see the most horrible things and seem to be okay, and then there’ll be one incident that will affect him.” John: “We have active clients and passive clients. The passive ones are known to our service but don’t need any support right now, whereas the active guys are the ones we’re currently seeing. At the moment we have 317 active clients in our region, and the passive list is over 560.” Stephen: “It’s easy to forget those who served in the 1950s and 1960s, but Korea was a bloody effort, there was Aden, and many of the African conflicts were barbaric. To someone from the West, child warriors, injuries to children and general disregard for human life can easily inflict emotional injury. Then came Northern Ireland, the Falklands – there’s always something…”
For help & support For more information about our community-based care, call: South 01372 841680 Central 01952 822750 North 01292 561350
Pimms and giant tenn is balls at an indoor picn ic Erecting the big l screen at Hagley Hal
Nadal, winning his second Wimbledon
he Honourable Sally Bedford has a nephew serving in Afghanistan with The Light Dragoons, and she wanted to do something for the troops. Having successfully screened the Wimbledon Final on a large LED screen to guests at her daughter’s wedding last year, Sally decided to hold a series of similar events on a vastly larger scale. As a result, Break Point was born, and the Men’s Final was screened simultaneously at 10 of Britain’s most impressive country houses – from Eaton Hall in Cheshire to Farleigh House in Hampshire and Hagley Hall in the West Midlands, where Lord Cobham opened the grounds to around 300 visitors. “This is a terrific opportunity for people to support the superb work done by Combat Stress to rehabilitate those Service personnel who suffer from mental conditions caused by active Service,” he said. “It’s particularly poignant because the Volunteer Band of the Mercian Regiment will put on a marching display here, having only recently suffered losses in Afghanistan.” In addition to the main event of big screens at all venues, there were additional attractions such as lunches, auctions and raffles. At Hagley Hall, a Spitfire and Mustang took to the air, and Farleigh House hosted a picnic. Sally was particularly struck by the amount of work, generosity and enthusiasm that was evident from all those involved, something she puts down to:“the good old British fighting spirit.” Sponsors included Sotheby’s, who sponsored all 10 houses, and Brewin Dolphin, who sponsored all but Hagley Hall, which was second-sponsored by Smith and Williamson. In addition, the
Game, set & match
One of the most impressive, and certainly biggest, charity events organised for Combat Stress was the magniﬁcent Break Point designed around the Wimbledon Men’s Final on 4 July screens at Eaton Hall in Cheshire and Stowell Park in Gloucestershire were sponsored by Savills. A poignant video message from Combat Stress Ambassador, Tim Henman OBE, preceded the match at all 10 venues. The event raised over £270,000 – way above its estimated target of £100,000.
Under canvas, eyes glued to the screen
The following houses played host to Break Point on 4 July Eaton Hall, Cheshire Courteenhall, Northamptonshire Sutton Park, Yorkshire Hagley Hall, Worcestershire Willey Park, Shropshire The Old Rectory, Northumberland Farleigh House, Hampshire Langtree House, Berkshire Stowell Park, Gloucestershire Uppark, Sussex
The beautiful grounds and façade of Farleigh House in Hampshire
AUTUMN 2010 | COMBAT STRESS NEWS 9
The reality of climbing Everest today Rugby star Josh Lewsey MBE and his friend Major Keith Reesby AAC recently attempted Everest to raise money for Combat Stress and Help For Heroes. However, all didn’t go quite as planned…
his is the blog I hoped I’d never have to write,” penned Major Keith Reesby in his last entry to the record of his and climbing partner, England rugby international Josh Lewsey’s, 2010 challenge to climb Everest. In the event, neither made it to the top. Josh first met Keith at Sandhurst before he had to make the difficult choice between a career in rugby or with the Army. Keith has served three tours in Iraq as part of the Army Air Corps and was shot down and injured during the first tour. Perhaps this adventure was ambitious from the start, even for men as physically fit as these. They were going up Everest in a relatively ‘bare bones’ fashion,
and weather, equipment failings, misunderstandings with the sherpa guides and plain bad luck all contrived to thwart their attempt just a few hundred yards from the summit (which, in reality, was “… still five hours of some of the most exposed and physically demanding climbing,” says Reesby). They had also chosen the less-travelled North Col Route. Lewsey got to 8,700m, and at that point felt strong and confident, but was forced to turn back when his oxygen supply failed. He remembers the journey down as terrifying, his fingers losing all feeling as, at one point, he could see 10 dead bodies of lost climbers in the ‘Death Zone’, a section of the climb where it’s hard
10 COMBAT STRESS NEWS | AUTUMN 2010
Top: A sudden and dramatic deterioration of his eyesight dictated Major Keith Reesby’s premature descent Above: Despite failing to reach the summit, both climbers consider their Everest experience to have been ‘exceptional’
to survive without extra oxygen. Reesby, meanwhile, was suffering his own problems: “It seemed as though I was standing in a cloud, and could barely see 10 metres”. Or so he thought. With everyone else being able to see perfectly, he was forced to descend, only to learn later that his corneas had started to freeze. “Why did we do it?” says Lewsey. “If it was to summit, then clearly our attempt wasn’t successful. But if it was to challenge ourselves, face failure and come away with our pride intact… then, yes, the whole experience was a success.” Josh and Keith will be giving a lecture about their adventures at the Royal Geographical Society on 18 January 2011.See opposite for details.
CALENDAR Highlights of the next six months… OCTOBER Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon Sunday, 10 October 25 Combat Stress runners will compete in this year’s Half Marathon in St James’s Park, Green Park and Hyde Park, London. Please come along to cheer our participants on – you’ll find us near the finish, providing a warm welcome after they cross the line. The Brakes Food & Fitness Festival, held alongside the race in Hyde Park, will include farmers’ market stalls and a hog roast. Contact Jo Grace or Faye Waters. Voices of War Thursday, 21 October This year, Voices of War takes place at Stewarton Area Centre, Kilmarnock – a repeat of the very successful production at the Bowhill Theatre (2007), Aberdeen (2008) and Glasgow (2009). It’s an evening of evocative poetry, music and readings from a century of conflict depicting the background to our work with Veterans. Contact Charlotte French. NOVEMBER Annual Armistice Day Lecture Thursday, 4 November The Annual Armistice Day Lecture will take place at the Royal
Winter Wonderland: Charity Preview Night Thursday, 18 November This amazing event in London’s Hyde Park takes place the day before it opens to the public and boasts the capital’s largest open-air ice rink, Zippos Circus and a giant observation wheel, to name but a few. Buy a ticket (to all the attractions) to raise money for Combat Stress (promotional code at: www.combatstress.org.uk). Tickets: Adults £25; Children £20. www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com United Services Institute (RUSI) – the independent defense and security think tank at Sixty-One Whitehall, London. Brigadier James Cowan, who commanded 11 Light Brigade in Helmland Province, Afghanistan, has kindly accepted our invitation to speak. Tickets cost £25 – to include a sandwich lunch – and will go quickly, so don’t delay. Contact Charlotte French. DECEMBER Festival of Lessons and Carols Wednesday, 8 December A traditional Christmas Carol Service with the Royal Hospital Choir at the Royal Hospital Chelsea – tickets (£35:
service and reception; £15: service) tend to go fast! Contact Charlotte French. JANUARY 2011 The reality of climbing Everest Tuesday, 18 January Josh Lewsey MBE, the England and Wasps player, and Major Keith Reesby AAC, will give an evening lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London, about their ascent of Mount Everest. Tickets at £15 (£12 for RGS-IBG members). Contact Charlotte French. (See page 9 for more.) april 2011 Above & Below Saturday, 9 April For an amazing adventure, join expert Nigel Gifford OBE and
team in a skydive onto the North Pole and then dive beneath the ice to circumnavigate the Pole. This is a private expedition, and participants would be required to fund their own place. www.nigelgifford. co.uk/northpole.html
Your Gift to a Veteran Combat Stress is dedicated to helping those who have suffered injury to the mind as a result of their military Service. Through our expanding Community Outreach network, we visit Veterans at home to see how best we can help. Through our three centres, we provide rehabilitative treatment to help them cope with their disabilities and to enjoy a better quality of life. Name Address
Telephone Email c I am happy to receive emails from Combat Stress.
Virgin London Marathon 2011 Sunday, 17 April The London Marathon is one of the world’s top five marathons held over the traditional 26.2 miles. 746,635 people have finished this marathon to date, including a large number of Combat Stress runners. The ballot for taking part in 2011 is now closed, but we’ll be choosing who gets runner places from our own allocation at the end of October. Contact Jo Grace or Faye Waters.
To make a donation over the phone, or to make a monthly direct debit, please call
01372 587151 I wish to help ex-Service men and women suffering from Combat Stress. Please find enclosed my donation of £ I enclose a cheque/postal order/CAF voucher made payable to Combat Stress. OR please debit my: Credit/Debit/CAF Card (delete as appropriate) Card No: Expiry Date: Security Code: (last 3 digits of the number on the signature strip)
(for Maestro only) Start Date:
Signature: Cardholder’s name (if different from above)
c To save money, please tick here if you don’t want to
For more details on any of the above events, please call the following numbers (as detailed on each entry)
If you are a UK tax payer (and remember, pensions are taxed too)Charlotte we can reclaim the tax have already paid on the money French onyou 01372 587144 you give to help our work. For every £1 you donate we are able or email her at charlotte.french@ to claim an additional 28 pence from the Inland Revenue. This combatstress.org.uk could mean an extra £50,000 a year to help our Veterans.
Jo Grace: 01372 587146, jo.grace@ combatstress.org.uk Faye Waters: 01372 587143, faye.waters@ combatstress.org.uk Charlotte French: 01372 587144, charlotte.french@ combatstress.org.uk
on 01372 587147acknowledgement. ANL10 or email richard. receive a thank-you firstname.lastname@example.org
Simply tick the box below.
blah blah c Jo Yes,on I am a UK taxblah payer and wish Combat Stress to reclaim the tax on all donations I have made since 01/04/06 until I notify them otherwise. The Inland Revenue has asked us to remind you that you must pay an amount of income tax and/or capital gains tax at least equal to the tax we reclaim on your donations in the tax year.
You must complete the name and address box above for us to reclaim your tax. Please return this completed coupon to:
The Director of Fundraising, Combat Stress, Tyrwhitt House, Oaklawn Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 0BX Registered Charity Number: 206002 Charity Number Scotland: SC 038828 Company limited by guarantee: Registration Number 256353
WINTER 2010 | COMBAT STRESS news 11
help us to raise valuable funds
With more psychologically injured Veterans turning to Combat Stress, The Enemy Within Appeal is designed to raise money and awareness to help us provide the care they need. Here’s how you can get involved…
Holding your own event is easy with our fundraising pack. There’s a host of fun ways to raise money and awareness, and you can do it individually or as a team, with friends, family or work colleagues. For a pack, or to discuss any ideas you may have, call 01372 587143 or email fundraising@ combatstress.org.uk
Why not volunteer with us? We are always delighted to hear from volunteers who would like to join us – help cheer along our runners, collect money, man stands, etc. There might also be some local events organised by other volunteers where you can help out. Email fundraising @combatstress.org.uk
If you are unable to participate or attend an event but would still like to help, you can sponsor our volunteers in their endeavours. For a list of current activities and to sponsor online, please visit www.justgiving.com and search under Combat Stress. Your support really will make all the difference. Thank you.
Visit our pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for charity updates, fellow supporters, and details of how you can support us. Go to: • www.facebook.com/ CombatStress • www.twitter.com/ CombatStress • www.youtube.com/ CombatStressCharity
We are grateful to all our supporters, including the following:
12 COMBAT STRESS news | autumn 2010