Ex-soldier in market to help Gulf War vets

A GULF War veteran is setting up a market stall to raise money for a charity which helps ex-service personnel who are suffering from post-traumatic stress. Mark Williams, of Oaks Cross in Stevenage, hopes to open the stall in the

A GULF War veteran is setting up a market stall to raise money for a charity which helps ex-service personnel who are suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Mark Williams, of Oaks Cross in Stevenage, hopes to open the stall in the town’s indoor market off St George’s Way next month, in aid of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA).

The charity supports veterans and their families from Gulf War 1 1990-91, Gulf War 2 (Iraq) 2003-2009, and Afghanistan 2001 to the present day.

Mr Williams, 45, served in the army and fought in the first Gulf War. “I have a lot of health problems, which are all down to Gulf War syndrome,” he said, claiming anthrax vaccines and depleted uranium rounds used in tanks are just two of the reasons why he now suffers ill health. “The depleted uranium rounds are radioactive and still used in apache helicopters today,” he said.


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Mr Williams has been involved with the NGVFA since the charity was established in 1996. “I have used their services myself and they are very, very good. They have helped me and my family in all manner of ways possible.”

Last week it was revealed that 20,500 ex-service personnel - more than twice the number currently serving in Afghanistan - are in prison or on probation in England and Wales. Mr Williams said: “A lot of service personnel won’t ask for help if they have got a problem. Their family splits up, they go into financial meltdown, and they turn to drink or drugs. We are trying to make them aware that there is someone here to help them. There is no need for them to struggle.”

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Mr Williams says that if the stall is a success he hopes to open a NGVFA charity shop, which he says will be one of the first forces charity shops in Hertfordshire. “I would like to set it up and, if it runs really well, the money will then go to more of the forces’ charities because I believe each does something difference to the other.”

Mr Williams is currently collecting donations of new and nearly new items for the market stall. Call him on 07805925404 if you have items to donate.

Support NGVFA offers includes counselling, legal advice, tribunal representation, and an annual respite break for veterans and their families.

A 24-hour freephone helpline is also available on 0845 257 4853.

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