A FORMER Wigan soldier who was struggling after being released from the army has been given a new lease of life thanks to an organisation in Leigh.
Craig Mulqueeney, 26, had been in the army as an infantryman for the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards for 10 years until he left at the beginning of this year.
Despite facing conflict in Bosnia and in the Gulf War, he seemed unfazed by life in the military, but when he left, he struggled to cope and developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Although he gained plenty of support from the armed forces, no-one could help him, until he found Talking2Minds, based in Leigh.
The father-of-one said: “There were a couple of incidents in the Gulf, but my main struggle was getting out of the army and not being able to handle civilian life.
“I could not get a job and I was struggling to earn money and I knew my wife, Victoria, and eight-year-old son were relying on me.
“It was easy in the army. I had a job, lived in married quarters and had no bills.
“But I have been out almost a year and it all went to pot.
“I tried everything, but nothing worked.
“But then I did a four-day course with Talking2Minds and got my life back on track.
“They lay everything down on paper in front of you. They showed me how my life is and how if I change one aspect of what is wrong, everything else will fall into place.”
Since working with Talking2Minds, Craig has become landlord of The Old Pear Tree in Frog Lane.
And as a thank you to the charity, he has organised a bike ride from Southport to the pub, which will take place on October 30 to raise funds.
He said: “There will be about 30 riders who will ride from the Morris Dancers pub, in Southport, back to my pub and there will be a celebration afterwards.
“I have been through a bad time and the only reason I got through it is because of Talking2Minds, so I want to say a big thank you to them. I hope to raise £1,500.”
The fund-raising celebrations kick off at The Old Pear Tree, in Wigan, from noon on Sunday, October 30, with karaoke, children’s entertainment and home-made hot pot.