Fishing course aims to help south west's war veterans

Fishing for Heroes
Image caption The charity is designed to help military veterans with their adjustment back into society

Veterans from recent military conflicts around the world are in the south west learning about the art of fly fishing.

Fishing for Heroes is a new charity which was developed following the success of the American organisation called Project Healing Waters.

The charity provides free fly fishing courses.

It is part of a therapy package for veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, combat fatigue, or any psychological problems.

Tony Spacey, the founder of Fishing for Heroes, said: "The widow of one of my soldiers came to visit me and told me what had happened to him. He felt there was no other way out than to take his life, leaving behind two small children and his widow.

"She told me some statistics that absolutely horrified me. More men have killed themselves since serving in the Falklands War than were killed or injured during it."

'Very proud'

Jacob Goodine, a former Virginia Army National Guard, is one of those to benefit from fly fishing in the region.

Talking about his experiences Mr Goodine said: "We drove over an improvised explosive device. I fractured my lower leg and pelvis. I went from working 18-20 hour days to laying in a hospital bed and not being able to sit up."

Fishing for Heroes said post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can often take many years to appear.

Mr Spacey said: "The main problem with military veterans is they are very proud. They don't like admitting they've got problems.

"All the times as a soldier they are told not to show weakness. These men and women fear by admitting they have got a problem, they are actually exhibiting weakness."

Fishing for Heroes offers a three-day fly fishing course and says that after the course many veterans are given a mentor in order to establish a bridge back into society through the game fishing community.

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