Life in perspective; beneficiary Steve Mills receives welfare grant to support his photography business

Steve Mills recently received a welfare grant from the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund, through Help for Heroes, which was used to purchase specialist photography equipment in support of his newly formed business, OneShot Photography.

Steve recently sent us a wonderful letter of thanks, which he has kindly agreed to share with our supporters. We offer our sincere thanks to Steve for his bravery in sharing his story.

“Firstly thank you so much again for the welfare grant it is greatly appreciated, when Help for Heroes contacted me and informed me of the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund I looked it up and read the story, it was very emotional, and brought so many of my memories back wth regards to loss. Two years ago I would not of been able to read it, but I am in a much better place now.

“I joined the Army when I was 16 straight from school in 1981, I joined the Lifeguards, the Household Cavalry Regiment as it is now. I did my training at the Guards Depot in Pirbright, which is renowned for being a tough place for recruits. I completed my training and then after two days off reported to Catterick to complete my trade training – which was a driver of Chieftain Tanks. Then it was straight on a plane to Detmold, Germany. BAOR.

“I came out of the Army in 1994, I served 13 years in total, I left the Regular Army in 1987, and re-enlisted as a Powerman in the Royal Signals (V) – which was the TA. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2009, and I also had two strokes in the same year. Which left me with a left-sided weakness, after years of self-medicating with alcohol. I was talking to a chap on a visit to RAF Cosford, when I was having treatment from Combat Stress, who suggested getting myself a camera – which would give me a reason to go out of the house, because I would just lock myself indoors. I did and then on my next visit to Combat Stress he took me out and taught me the basics of photography – I loved it, and so when I came home I got myself on a college course and got a City & Guilds level 2 qualification.

“I was going to go on the level 3 the next year, but I had a breakdown and ended up in HMP Manchester (Strangeways) for six months. When I was inside, there was no support what so ever, all though the Prison Liaison told my wife I would get all the help I needed. I had no counselling, and just passed the time reading books in my cell. I got released on 5th November 2014, I got in touch with the RBL and worked with them as a volunteer for a number of months – none of the other Military Charities would touch me because I had been in Prison. The manager of the Manchester Support Hub where I was working asked if I had applied to Help for Heroes for help with my PTSD.

“After a lot of what seemed like red tape, I eventually got to be seen by Help for Heroes and began using their facilities and courses, I got on the Business Experience in June this year. My business idea was my photography business and at the end of the course, which was spread over three months, I was told I could apply for a welfare grant for any essential equipment. After my welfare grant was accepted and the equipment purchased I received a letter from Help for Heroes explaining where the money had come from The Captain David Seath Memorial Fund. I also completed the City & Guilds Level 3 course, which is as qualified as I can be. I have also set up a CIC called Recovery Through the Lens, which is so I can give something back and hopefully help other Veterans suffering from PTSD through photography. I

“So I owe the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund a massive thank you, I really appreciate your assistance.”

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