Ben Fogle to present military charity Walking With The Wounded’s BBC Lifeline Appeal

Leading Armed Forces charity, Walking With The Wounded (‘WWTW’), will feature on a BBC TV appeal, presented by adventurer, writer and broadcaster, Ben Fogle.

WWTW will be featured in a BBC Lifeline Appeal which will air on BBC One on 24 April at 14.05 pm, and again on BBC Two.

Ben Fogle, a former Royal Navy Reservist, will present the programme, which will showcase some of the incredible work that the charity does. The appeal will also feature the stories of Neil, Jeff and Adam, three beneficiaries of the charity who received mental health, care coordination and employment support from WWTW.

  • Jeff served in the Royal Air Force for 22 years. He trained to become a dog handler and achieved the rank of Sergeant. During his time in the Armed Forces, he served in Northern Ireland during the height of the ‘Troubles’ and he was also deployed to the Falklands War where a friend and colleague was fatally injured. This experience had a profound and traumatic effect on him. He eventually decided to leave his career in the Armed Forces. When he returned to civilian life, he began to suffer from PTSD, and his symptoms brought his home life close to breaking point. Whilst he was able to focus on his work as an Ambulance Technician, at home and socially, he struggled for many years until he became desperate. Finally, he was introduced to WWTW and referred to NHS TILS for treatment that enabled him to manage his symptoms and re-engage with his family and friends.
  • Neil’s career in the military spanned nearly 20 years – on active duty in the Royal Logistics Corp (RAOC); as a reservist with the Royal Engineers; and most recently, as a Cadet Instructor. During his Armed Forces career, he was deployed to Bosnia, where Neil’s mental health suffered, and he required medication, counselling, and specialist treatment to recover. He eventually left the Armed Forces, but he struggled to adjust to civilian life. Neil began to experience flashbacks and sought mental health support. He received help from NHS TILS and military charities who worked in collaboration to offer Neil ongoing support.  Neil found work as an HGV driver but found that the long shifts and pressurised work aggravated his PTSD. WWTW helped him achieve a complete career change, assisting him with updating his CV, completing the paperwork and preparing for the interview. He is now employed as an Exam Invigilator and a Cover Supervisor at his local school and has found a newfound sense of purpose and a brighter outlook on life.
  • Adam served in the Royal Logistics Corp (RLC) for 9 years as a Chef. He was deployed to Afghanistan and took part in exercises around the world. He was medically discharged after he suffered a catastrophic brain injury following a motorcycle accident. Adam was in intensive care for an extended period and suffered life-changing injuries that affected his mobility, brain function and mental health.

Adam was initially introduced to WWTW through OP-REGEN, their volunteering programme and took part in several volunteering initiatives. In 2020, Adam began to experience low moods and shared his mental health struggles with WWTW. He was referred to veteran-specific mental health services and received support from a WWTW Care Coordinator who helped him with some of the issues that were troubling him. Adam continues to volunteer through OP-REGEN and enjoys a new sense of purpose and belonging.

Commenting on the BBC Lifeline Appeal, Ben Fogle said,

“I’m honoured to be presenting this appeal for Walking With The Wounded.  As a former Reservist in the Royal Navy, I have witnessed first-hand the unique skillset of those who have served. Too many veterans struggle to transition from a life in the Armed Forces. But Walking With The Wounded’s critical work saves jobs, homes, relationships, and lives.”

The 10- minute appeal will provide viewers with a unique insight into how the team at WWTW helps to turn lives around through the charity’s employment, care coordination, mental health and volunteering programmes.

Fergus Williams, CEO of WWTW, added,

“We are incredibly grateful to Ben Fogle for showing his support for WWTW and those who served through presenting our BBC Lifeline Appeal. Whilst most ex-service personnel leave the Armed Forces and transition smoothly into civilian life, a minority struggle and this is who WWTW helps. Our team works tirelessly to identify and support veterans and their families. The appeal will go towards funding our life-changing programmes and help those who have served to get back on their feet.”

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