Fundraiser Peyton Melling was recently named as a finalist for ITV’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year award for her incredible efforts to raise awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The 23-year-old lost her dad to PTSD after he served in the Army for 25 years. She has since been campaigning tirelessly in his memory, including completing an 82 mile hike for Combat Stress.
“I chose to walk the Great Glen Way because my Dad was a big walker and loved walking in the mountains. I wanted to do something that would be a challenge, so we could earn the money we were raising for Combat Stress.
“When I first set up my fundraising page my target was £500, I reached that in the first day so kept upping the target. In the end we raised over £2,000. A lot of the people who donated had served with my Dad, it was really nice to read stories about their memories of him.
“I did the challenge with my friend, Francesca, my Granny, Aunty, her friend and two dogs, Ellie and Cinnamon. It usually takes seven days, but we completed it in three and a half days as we really wanted to push ourselves. As well as being physically hard, it was also emotionally challenging.”
Earlier this month Peyton was at a café with her mum, unaware that she was about to be surprised live on national TV by the ITV Lorraine show with news that she was a finalist for the Inspirational Woman of the Year award.
“My Mum told me we were going for breakfast and then to do a talk on mental health. When the film crew came in to the café I was so surprised, I had no idea.
“A week later, I was on the Lorraine show with the other two finalists, we got a make-over and did lots of press interviews. It was a great opportunity to raise awareness of PTSD and Combat Stress.
“At the awards ceremony that evening I felt so honoured to be there with so many inspirational women. It was amazing to speak to everyone and raise even more awareness. The Duchess of Cornwall even came to speak to me as she knows about the life changing work Combat Stress does. It was amazing to get recognition, especially as it was all in memory of my Dad.”
Peyton is now studying for a masters at the University of Nottingham and is looking to start a career in mental health.
“I’m currently studying person-centred experiential counselling and psycho-therapy. It’s only been four weeks so far but I absolutely love it. It would be great to work as a therapist and help people with mental health problems.
“In terms of fundraising, my next challenge is going to be the Yorkshire three peaks next spring. I want to get a big group involved and raise more money for Combat Stress.”
To sponsor Peyton please visit her JustGiving page.