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Tom is a champ for all veterans

FORMER soldier Tom O’Connor has become a champion for service personnel.

 

Bognor Regis resident Tom was given the status by the Sussex Armed Forces Network. It follows his success at a day’s training hosted by George Chapman, the network’s champions training co-ordinator.

 

The training was aimed at health services workers and highlighted conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder which can afflict those who have served their country.

 

Tom said: “I became involved in the training because I run a breakfast club for former members of the armed forces and also a Facebook page which signposts where they need to go if they want help with matters like housing and the Personal Independence Payments.

 

“We are now getting veterans who have served in places like Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.”

 

Becoming a champion means his name is given to veterans who need confidential support in areas such as education, homelessness, as a carer, jobs and financial. He has also joined with a pastor to ensure veterans receive  an appropriate send-off when they die.

 

“We want to see an end to veterans being buried in a pauper’s grave with no-one at the ceremony,” said Tom, of Glamis Street. “The government is failing many veterans. The Armed Forces Covenant which David Cameron launched is not being upheld. ”

 

Tom hosts his informal breakfast club at the Laburnum Centre in Lyon Street at 9am on the last Tuesday monthly thanks to its operator, Age UK.

 

He joined the Army in 1972 when he was aged 17 and served in Northern Ireland.

Posted in Community, News.