Healing wounds through art

Thursday 7 December 2017

Artwork by servicemen and women wounded or injured during their military career is to go on public display in Hull from 14th December.

The work forms part of an exhibition put together by Help for Heroes to illustrate the journey of Veterans and Service Personnel on their road to recovery from life-changing injury and trauma.

The artists’ inspirational stories of bravery and resilience will be displayed alongside pictures and woodcraft created at Help for Heroes' northern Recovery Centre, Phoenix House.

One of the Veterans whose work forms part of the Art of Recovery exhibition is Simon Bangert, from East Riding.

He joined the Army straight from school, training as a vehicle mechanic with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, but was medically discharged after the vehicle he was travelling in rolled over, damaging vertebrae in his back and injuring his neck and shoulder. More recently, he has been diagnosed with PTSD related to the incident. He lives with chronic pain and is unable to work.

Being sole carer for his daughter Abi, 13, keeps Simon going and gives him hope for the future; while art provides a distraction from his pain.

Fellow Veteran, Ken Nash, turned to art to help him through dark nights of disturbed sleep.

Ken, who served for 18 years with the 17/21st which became the Queens Royal Lancers, was medically discharged in 2010 with PTSD. This was caused by a series of incidents during his six-month tour of Iraq, culminating when the tank of which he was commander was attacked by 18 rocket propelled grenades. They were trapped in the situation for four hours of intensive attack.

Within the mane of Ken’s charcoal drawing of a lion are words representing all his thoughts at the time he was drawing it.

There are almost 3,400 wounded, injured or sick former Service personnel in the Humberside area, and Head of Recovery North, David McNeill, hopes that many will visit the exhibition and be prompted to make contact.

“Art and woodcraft are just some of the wide range of activities that we provide to inspire our Heroes to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives, enabling them to reach their full potential and be a Force for Good."

“Help for Heroes is honoured to showcase this work and grateful to the artists for agreeing to share their very personal stories. We hope it will show others that they need not make their recovery journeys alone and encourage them to seek support.

“We also hope it will keep the enduring needs of our wounded Heroes in the minds of the residents of Hull, whose continued generosity means we can deliver on our promise to support them and their families for life.”

The pieces of art and woodwork can be seen at Space 3 on the first floor of the Princes Quay Shopping Centre, Princes Dock Street, from 14 December to 11 January.

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