War vet seeking to help others to help himself
An army veteran is hoping to ease the memory of past horrors by rebuilding a village devastated by earthquake in Nepal.
Simon Cairns, from The Green in Rougham, is heading to Langtang - west of Kathmandu - for one month on April 5, the scene of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake last May. The 55-year-old, who has battled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), believes the trip will provide an ideal outlet for the skills he learnt during nine years in the army’s bomb disposal unit and act as therapy for his condition.
“This village was completely flattened,” said Mr Cairns, who served in the Gulf and Falklands Wars. “Around 3,500 people died, there are still 3,000 missing and all the buildings and the hospital were knocked down.”
The main aim of the trip is to rebuild the hospital and assist the local Dilat people, who survive on 60p per day.
Mr Cairns will be joined by four other veterans, all of whom were approached to take part in the project by ex-Navy medic Kevin Shore, during courses run by PTSD charity Combat Stress.
“Kevin runs a volunteer medical centre in Kathmandu and I want to go out there and make a difference,” Mr Cairns said.
“This is something ex-servicemen with PTSD should be encouraged to do as therapy. We have the training to help and can use our time in a useful way.”
Mr Cairns is looking to raise £2,500 to put towards the hospital rebuild and vital equipment. To donate visit www.gofund.me/ufu9s8gw.