- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
A charity rugby match will take place in Cardigan on Saturday (26 May) to raise funds for a Welsh armed services charity.
Healing the Wounds helps deliver treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suffered by serving personnel and veterans.
The match at Cardigan rugby club (kick off 2.30pm) has been organised by friends and relatives of Lance Sergeant Dan Collins, who ended his life on New Year’s Day this year after battling with PTSD.
Mid and West Wales AM Joyce Watson is supporting the event and helping raise money on the day.
L/Sgt Collins, from Llechryd, Ceredigion, served with the Welsh Guards for twelve years. He toured Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq before serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Friends of L/Sgt Collins describe how he struggled to cope after two of his best friends were killed in Afghanistan and he himself narrowly escaped death, being shot at twice and involved in two separate bomb blasts. On one occasion he was shot by a Taliban sniper while on foot patrol.
He received support and counselling through the military as a serving soldier but was said to be deeply troubled by his experiences in Afghanistan.
Ms Roach and Dan’s family have called for more support for service personnel and veterans suffering from PTSD.
With the encouragement of Dan’s mother Deana and sister Megan friends of the west Wales serviceman decided to raise awareness and money for Bridgend-based charity Healing the Wounds with a memorial rugby match.
Local businesses have donated money and prizes for a raffle. Joyce Watson AM has given a pair of train tickets donated by First Great Western – first class open returns for anywhere on the network. Speaking ahead of the event, Mrs Watson said:
“I was deeply moved by L/Sgt Collins’ tragic story – I just wanted to help support the event in some way.
“I grew up in Cardigan and still have family there, so it felt very close to home for me.
“In such sad circumstances, it’s wonderful that the community has come together like this to support such a vital cause.”
Mrs Watson explained that her own father suffered as a PoW in the Second World War.
“He didn’t experience post-traumatic stress, as such, but I understand that adapting to civilian life was difficult after his experiences.”
Healing the Wounds was founded in 2009 by Kevin Richards, a former combat medic with the Royal Regiment of Wales. The charity helps provide PTSD treatment for members of the armed forces and aims to establish a treatment centre in Wales.
Organisers of the ‘Dan Collins memorial rugby match’ may be available for interview; please contact Liz Davies for details – 07811431097 / 01239 614437 / [email protected]