Derg man walks 100 miles to raise awareness of PTSD

A CASTLEDERG man who lost his father during the Troubles has walked more than 100 miles across Scotland to raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Bryan Finlay (39), who has lived in Dundee for almost two decades, but will always consider the Derg his home, has already raised just over £1,000 for local victims’ group, South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), and the armed forces charity, SSAFA, by completing the challenge.
His father, Ronnie, a former corporal in the UDR, was shot dead by three gunmen as he was being left to work on August 15, 1991. There was never any reason given for the murder and nobody ever claimed responsibility.
Bryan said, “Castlederg, a border town, was hit really badly during the Troubles. Life goes on but the hurt and the pain still remains, this is the real legacy of the Troubles. An everlasting trauma, as such.
“A lot of people experienced it. I’m nearly 40 now, but the incident happened when I was ten years old. I’ve been living with that for the best part of my life.
“And on a national scale, troops are coming back in a terrible state after being sent into these warzones by the government. There’s not the right support to help them adjust back to civilian life.
“I feel very passionately about this, and with June being PTSD Awareness month, I decided to take on a walking challenge, whereby I would walk 100 miles over the course of the month.”
During last month, the former Omagh Academy pupil walked a total of 110.79 miles, all around Dundee, Angus and Fife. For just over 56 of these miles he was accompanied by his faithful dog, a Jackadoodle named Poppy.
So far, Bryan has raised £1,020 for the two charities. He plans to keep fundraising until the end of July and has set a target of £1,120.
“I completed this challenge on Saturday which was quite fitting, as it was PTSD Awareness Day and also Armed Forces Day. It was wonderful getting out and about in the great outdoors, something I would encourage everyone to do, it’s free and it’s great for the mind,” Bryan added.
Kenny Donaldson, SEFF’s director of services, said the Castlederg man was deserving of much praise for the effort he had made during June.
“Bryan has done himself proud and he has also given a voice to many silent sufferers who will no doubt identify with his story. We at SEFF are committed to further developing our suite of mental health and wellbeing services over the months and years ahead.”

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