Tyne and Wear veteran to take on the Fan Dance Race for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity


A local Navy veteran is taking on the ultimate SAS selection challenge to raise money for the charities that have supported him after being diagnosed with PTSD.

John Mew, 60, from Dinnington in Newcastle is taking part in the gruelling 24km Fan Dance Race, which sees participants run over the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons, Pen Y Fen, not just once – but twice.

John served in the Royal Navy for 12 years as a physical training instructor, ships diver and as a member of the Portsmouth Command Field Gun Crew.

At the height of the Falklands War in May 1982, John was on board the HMS Coventry, when she was struck by three Argentinian bombs.  The ship capsized and sank in just 20 minutes, taking the lives of 20 crew members and injuring a further 29.

The loss of HMS Coventry sent shockwaves through the country, something John still finds himself feeling over thirty-five years later.   In 2015, John was diagnosed with PTSD and has anxiety and depression. He currently receives ongoing support from two charities SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity and Forward Assist.

John is supported by the SSAFA branch in Tyne and Wear and has been given a SSAFA caseworker, Marion who has built his confidence and helped get him back on his feet.

John is now training daily for his upcoming challenge on Saturday 7 July and is a quarter of the way to reaching is fundraising target of £3,500.  To donate and support John in his phenomenal challenge visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnMew

Speaking ahead of the challenge, John said:

“Training for the Fan Dance Race has given me something to focus on and helps to keep my mind clear. Although I still face daily challenges because of the PTSD, I feel in a much better place mentally and physically.

“Thanks to the support from SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity and Forward Assist, I am now surrounded by a great team of positive, supportive people which makes the world of difference. You get that same sense of camaraderie in the Navy and that is something I missed when I left.

“The work that these charities do is crucial. I have known my SSAFA caseworker, Marion, for a long time and she has always been there to help me over the years. They work tirelessly to support our military veterans and it’s an honour to be able to give something back to them.”

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity provides lifelong support to those currently serving, veterans and their families.  Through its dedicated network of volunteers across the country, SSAFA offers practical, emotional and financial help to the Armed Forces community in their hour of need.

To find out how you can support John in his inspirational fundraising journey visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnMew


For more information or interview opportunities, please contact Emily Garner in the SSAFA Press Office on emily.garner@ssafa.org.uk or 0207 463 9321

Notes to editors

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. Every year our staff and team of volunteers help more than 67,000 people, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts.

For more information visit www.ssafa.org.uk and follow us on Twitter: @SSAFA.

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