Eastbourne gym offers free membership to veterans with PTSD

Ben Mead from Eastbourne who is setting up an ex-military social group ENGSUS00120120409121728
Ben Mead from Eastbourne who is setting up an ex-military social group ENGSUS00120120409121728

A former soldier in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) is one of the first to take advantage of Duncan Bannatyne’s offer of free membership for veterans with PTSD.

Ben Mead, 39, joined the Forces in 1998 and has been deployed to Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan in his time serving the country. During his time in the military, Ben developed complex PTSD from experiences that are too harrowing for him to discuss to this day.

Alongside his membership at Bannatyne Eastbourne, Ben has also received support from well-known charities Combat Stress, Help for Heroes and Waterloo Uncovered, all of which support veterans with their recovery.

Speaking about his time in the military, Ben said, “In my eyes, I went to war and never came home; it changed me as a person. I’ve seen things that I’ve never got over and never will do, I still have night terrors and it has had a huge impact on my life.

“My condition often means I have a lot of pent up energy, almost hanging over me like a black cloud. The membership at Bannatyne’s has given me a way to release the excess energy and gives me something to focus on.

“I’m a part of the Armed Forces PARA Snowsports Team (AFPST), taking part in Nordic Skiing, and having the gym membership has really helped me to train hard and keep fit.

“I’d like to thank Duncan Bannatyne for this opportunity, but more importantly for recognising those of us that are suffering with hidden injuries means so much to me.”

Duncan Bannatyne offered hundreds of free memberships for veterans with PTSD, with every one of his 72 health clubs across the country taking part.

Duncan’s dad William endured three-and-a-half years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in the Second World War and was starving to death before ­liberation in 1945.

William, an infantryman in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, had been captured while fighting Japan’s invasion of Malaya and Singapore in 1942.

Duncan said his father was somebody who did not really talk about his time as a prisoner of war but explained that he was very proud of his father’s bravery.