Will Ludlow has been a Help for Heroes volunteer since 2014. With a strong family connection to the military dating back to the Second World War, the Charity is a cause very close to his heart.
Volunteering at the Tin Hut, the birthplace of Help for Heroes, has not only given Will the opportunity to make a difference to our wounded, injured and sick, it’s also helped him make new friends who have offered a friendly ear when dealing with his own mental health.
Will took part in a Help for Heroes photoshoot to celebrate Armed Forces Day and told us more about his own story and who he will be saluting in his show of support for our forces.
“I have lots of military connections in my family. My great-uncle Ernest was a Japanese prisoner of war in 1942. After World War Two, he went on to work on the switchboard at RAF Lyneham and then as a maintenance man at the Army depot in Ludgershall. He was awarded with the Imperial Service Medal by Her Majesty The Queen for his services to our country. Sadly, he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after his horrendous ordeal as a prisoner of war. He passed away at the age of 68 from a deficiency disease he contracted at the prison camp.
“My aunt Rene was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She was awarded lots of medals, including the British Empire Medal, and also received an honour from the Queen. My grandfather also served and was in the RAF; he was awarded medals too.
“This Armed Forces Day I salute our forces for my great uncle, great aunt and grandad who sacrificed so much during World War Two.
“One of things that brought me to volunteer at Help for Heroes was the fact I can relate to a lot of the trauma beneficiaries suffer, especially the mental injuries or the hidden wounds. I can relate to all these great men and great women who served because I suffer a lot from stress, anxiety and depression. I’ve had a lot of traumatic things happen to me in my life. Obviously nothing compared to what these great men and women go through but I can relate to the mental injures that can’t necessarily be seen.
“I’ve been a volunteer at the Tin Hut for about three years now and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. It’s something that I’m very passionate about and I just want to keep going.
“Everybody I’ve volunteered with at Help for Heroes has been so friendly, I’ve not met one unfriendly person. During the last three years they’ve even listened to me when I’ve been having a few personal problems that have affected my health mentally. They are such an understanding bunch. I feel a lot of people look at mental health and they don’t understand it. Help for Heroes gets that sometimes it’s not just a physical injury; it’s what it can do to that person mentally as well.”