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Falklands Veteran Praises Council Support

Written by on 26th October 2021

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Armed Forces Veterans Service is on hand offering help and support to those who need it the most. It is the first point of contact for many veterans and their families living in the area.

Paul Bromwell, Chief Executive of Valley Veterans, served in the Welsh Guards and is all too aware of the serious affects of returning to civilian life once leaving the services.

Living in the Rhondda, he says he had no professional help available to him when he returned from the Falklands War in the 1980s and has since suffered with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following his time in the Armed Forces. He now works closely with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Veterans Service.

Councillor Maureen Webber, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Deputy Leader and Armed Forces Champion, said: “It is important that all of our veterans of all ages know that the Council’s Armed Forces Veterans Service is there to offer them help, support and guidance whenever they need it in their lives.

“We owe so much to our Armed Forces, past and present, and we will never forget the sacrifices they have made and continue to make.”

Support for our Armed Forces

Paul Bromwell, a recipient of the inaugural Aneurin Bevan People’s NHS Award, said: “Being a veteran living in Rhondda Cynon Taf, I feel so lucky today to have the support of the Council’s Armed Forces Veterans Service. It’s comforting to know that us veterans have such amazing support behind us.

“The Council was the first local authority in Wales to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant. It set the mark for the rest of Wales to follow and for the first time in 30 years I know I have help and support available to myself and our group members.

“The support I receive from the Council’s Armed Forces Veterans Service is amazing. There is so much help out there these days, you just need to know where to turn to get that help.

“Valleys Veterans is not solely made up of senior veterans, many of our members served in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Falklands. Younger men who have returned to civilian life affected by their time in service.

“When I served during the Falklands War, I lost 48 good friends in just one terrible incident. I never thought that the events of that day would affect me as much as they did.

“I really struggled when I returned to civilian life. I was suffering following my experiences – I was only 18 at the time and working behind enemy lines. All of a sudden, at the blink of an eye, my mates that I served with were no longer there.

“When I would go for a stroll back home, I would see young men my own age kicking a ball about in the local park, without a care in the world. But in my own head, I was still in a war zone and it took me a long time to deal with that.”

Valley Veterans is a veteran-led organisation, supported by the Council and based in Rhondda Cynon Taf. It was founded over 10 years ago as an informal support group for PTSD sufferers. It is now a vibrant community hub with more than 140 active participants. The group holds an Armed Forces Breakfast Club every Thursday, attracting up to 60 veterans each week.

The inaugural Aneurin Bevan People’s NHS Awards recognised and celebrated the work of all those unsung heroes who have a huge impact on communities across Wales and Mr Bromwell said he was both honoured and delighted to be a recipient.

For further information about Valley Veterans, contact the group via email at enquiries@valleyveterans.org or by calling 07733 896 128.