Ex-soldier who could cope in war zones but turned to alcohol back home in Leeds is helping veterans' charity

Andy Minshull
Andy Minshull

A FORMER soldier from Leeds who said he could cope with serving in Iraq and Afghanistan but turned to alcohol in civilian life has set himself two tough challenges to help a veterans' charity.

Ex-paratrooper Andy Minshull of Tingley is set to sleep rough on the streets of Leeds for 36 hours to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness among ex-military personnel.

Andy Minshull pictured  aged 19

Andy Minshull pictured aged 19

And Mr Minshull and 13 other veterans are set to tackle the Commando Raid Super Six challenge and cover 102 km going up and down the six well known routes of Mount Snowdon in Wales in under 24hrs on June 1.

The group of veterans, who call themselves the Kinsmen Regiment, will be raising cash for Phoenix Heroes - a charity which offers post traumatic stress disorder support for veterans.

Mr Minshull, 38, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he found it difficult coping with normal life back home after living on the edge in war zones.

He he has suffered drink problems and said he is no longer drinking after spending a month in rehab at the end of last year.

Andy Minshull

Andy Minshull

Mr Minshull, who served in the army for 16 years before he was medically discharged due to noise induced hearing loss aged 30, now works as a general nurse at a West Yorkshire psychiatric hospital.

Mr Minshull will be sleeping rough in Leeds for 36-hours from Friday May 10 to Sunday 12 to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness among veterans.

The ex-soldier, who served in 1st Batallion Parachute Regiment and later Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, said: "I struggled when I was in the army a little bit, but when I left the army I couldn't function in civvy street.

"My problem is dealing with life in the UK. When I went out to Iraq and Afghanistan I was fine. I struggled with normal life in the UK when I came back.

"I think it's because you are always on the edge out there, but at the same time you have got this band of brothers around you.

"It's a different world and then you come back to normal life where people are in pubs and going out shopping and it's difficult to make sense of it when you have been in that environment."

"It's difficult to adjust back into that life. I actually preferred being on operations."

Mr Minshull said: "I want to give something back and help other veterans in the same situation as me who are dealing with problems associated with military service.

"I consider myself lucky that I have got a good family and friends network. Some people don't have that when they come out of the military."

To contribute, go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thekinsmenregiment?