Former soldier gets fit to take part in nine fundraising challenges in aid of veterans’ mental health

Having lost six stone, a former soldier from Derbyshire will now be taking on nine fundraising challenges in 12 months to raise money for Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

When Paul Thompson left the Army in 2009, he stopped exercising and began drinking heavily. Six years later and weighing 19 stone, he set himself the challenge of taking part in his first duathlon in 2015 to motivate himself to get fit again.

Paul said: “I realised that something needed to change, so I stopped drinking and started training. I lost six stone in 2015 and set myself the challenge of taking part in a duathlon – it really helped me to have a goal to focus on.”

Paul decided to take his training to the next level by doing nine fundraising challenges in 12 months in aid of Combat Stress.

“Combat Stress is a cause that’s really close to my heart. I’m aware of people who have experienced mental health problems and received treatment at Combat Stress, it’s a great charity that doesn’t always receive the support it deserves.”

Starting with two duathlons in March 2018, Paul will take part in a third duathlon later in the year, as well as completing a 10k run, three cycling events and host a James Bond themed charity ball. He will finish in March 2019 sledding a team of Huskies 250kms across Norway and finishing up in Sweden.

“I’ve always wanted to try Husky sledging. From my days in the Army I love outdoor adventures and it would be great to get to see the northern lights. I’ve been cycling, swimming and doing boxercise to get ready and the other events I’m doing will help keep my fitness and training up too.

“I think my time in the Army will help as I’ve been on exercise in some really cold environments. It will be an incredible experience and I can’t wait to get started.”

Robert Marsh, Director Income Generation at Combat Stress said;

“We’re so grateful to Paul for choosing to take part in nine amazing challenges in aid of Combat Stress.

“Each year we receive more than 2,000 referrals from former servicemen and women with issues like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s vital that we raise awareness and funds for the charity so we can continue to support every veteran that comes to us for help. Without fundraisers, like Paul, we wouldn’t be able to continue to provide this life changing treatment.”

To sponsor Paul please visit his JustGiving page. Tickets to the James Bond themed charity ball cost £50 and can be purchased from


For more information please contact Holly Ayres, PR Officer, on 01372 587165 or

Notes to editors:

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

For almost a century we’ve helped former servicemen and women deal with issues like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Over the past five years (2012 to 2017) we have seen an average of more than 2,000 referrals each year. Demand for our services continues to grow – we have seen a 143% increase in referrals from ten years ago.

On average it takes 12 years after leaving the military for veterans to contact Combat Stress for help, by which time their condition is often highly complex. However, veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts are coming to Combat Stress much sooner (three and four years respectively).

To help veterans rebuild their lives, we provide a range of free services:

  • Short-stay clinical treatment at our treatment centres
  • A specialist Intensive Treatment Programme – delivered at our treatment centres
  • Community Teams – providing treatment and practical support to veterans. Last year our regional community teams undertook almost 5,400 face-to-face appointments
  • Outpatients – assessment by psychiatrists and psychologists – at our treatment centres and in the community – enables us to diagnose, define and deliver the treatment veterans require
  • Occupational therapy – delivered at our treatment centres and in the community, we use meaningful and creative activity to encourage hope, wellbeing and recovery
  • Peer Support Service – Led by veterans for veterans, it’s the first UK-wide service of its kind for those with mental health problems. The service enables them to share their experiences, receive support and socialise with others with similar experiences.
  • Substance Misuse Case Management Service – helping veterans to access the services for their drug and alcohol problems so their mental health issues can be addressed
  • Our 24-hour Helpline is there for veterans, serving personnel and their families (0800 138 1619)

Useful links

Our website:
On Twitter: @CombatStress
On Facebook:
On LinkedIn:

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By @Cobseo 55 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here