Ex soldier from Burnley who served in Afghanistan says that support for veterans 'needed now more than ever' as Taliban take over brings back painful memories for so many
An ex soldier from Burnley, who spent seven months serving in Afghanistan, has appealed for people to remember the sterling work that British troops carried out there over two decades ago.
Andy Powell spoke this week as the world watched in horror as the Taliban took back control of the country 20 years after the British Army played an integral role in helping Afghans to reclaim it.
He said: "It is very sad to watch but I hope that people will remember all the good work British troops did in Afghanistan two decades ago.
"It was a struggle but we achieved so much that has been in place for many years
"The Taliban have said they want to do this peaceably and without persecution of anyone so we have to hope this is how it unfolds.
"At the end of the day they are taking back their country."
Andy is the driving force behind Burnley based Healthier Heroes, an organisation he launched last year to help ex veterans to get back on their feet. Offering a range of services, including counselling and practical advice to help ex vets learn skills to help them live independently and find a job, the charity has gone from strength to strength with Andy receiving referrals daily from across the county.
He said: "We are needed now more than ever as this conflict brings back painful memories for so many ex servicemen and women. They are suffering both physically and mentally and they will continue to do so.
"I hope they feel able to reach out and know there is support there for them.
"That's what we are here for."
Using the mantra 'Unite as one, inspire each other, believe anything is possible' Healthier Heroes was established in Wigan two years ago but Andrew always hoped he could bring the project to his hometown.
That dream came true and the Burnley based Healthier Heroes has become the flagship for the project across Lancashire.