Highlands & Islands

Western Isles challenge in aid of Combat Stress

Marines
Image caption The four will raise money to help personnel requiring help from Combat Stress following active duty

A former soldier is to cycle the length of the Western Isles for charity and to honour two colleagues who took their own lives after seeing active service.

Steve Newman, 45, a farrier from Renfrewshire, served for 22 years with the Blues and Royals.

He will be joined by three friends on his 165 mile (265.5km) challenge.

They hope to raise more than £2,000 for Combat Stress, which offers free mental health welfare services to military personnel.

Mr Newman plans to complete the ride from south to north of the islands between 21-26 May.

He will be joined by Strathclyde Police officer Andrew Macleman, 55, former police officer Bob Corbett, 46, from Renfrew, and 46-year-old Bridge of Weir business consultant Richard Ferguson.

Mr Newman said: "We wanted to do something to help those who after performing active duty in the likes of Afghanistan and Iraq, discover they need mental health support.

"As a former soldier, I know of many colleagues who suffered greatly as a result of their experiences in combat. And sadly, quite a few who have taken their own life.

"A good friend served in the Falklands War and experienced the fierce fighting at Goose Green.

"Tragically, on leaving the army and after fighting and winning his own battle with serious illness, he took his own life. Another colleague who served in Bosnia and other conflicts also committed suicide."

Founded in 1919 to care for veterans of World War I, Combat Stress saw a 10% increase in demand for its specialist services in 2011.

It runs three short-stay residential clinical treatment centres, including Hollybush House in Ayrshire.

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