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Kevin Preston
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Inspirational Stories

How Kevin Preston used art as medicine

Day-to-day life should never be a struggle. Sadly, for many of those, we support this is the case… people like Kevin.

While on patrol in Northern Ireland Kevin fell off a wall landing on his backpack. Returning to work, he was unaware that the accident was to have bigger implications later in life:

“In those days if you had an injury in the Army you were no good to anybody. So, you kept all that quiet.”

Leaving the Army in 1985 Kevin found his transition to civilian life difficult:

“When I came out I couldn’t settle. I drank heavily and neglected my body. Even though I had this pain down my leg.”

Ongoing pain forced Kevin to give up manual work, but he soon started a new career. Using the sign writing training he’d learnt in the Army, he began sketching people and their pets, took a business course and set up a studio.

Then, one day his Army accident caught up with him. Unable to feel his leg Kevin was taken into hospital where he discovered the full extent of his injuries.  

He had fractured his back which hadn’t healed properly, causing nerve damage:

“This was a big wake-up call. At that time, I lost my mobility, I was in a wheelchair. I didn’t know what to do with myself. My business was gone, my trade was gone. I was in a state.” 

Nevertheless, Kevin continued to draw and paint, and in 2005 he joined Help for Heroes:

“It’s helped me to bring myself back to normal. I have a lot more belief in myself and this is all down to the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Plymouth, where I belong to the art group and enjoy every minute of my recovery.”

Since then Kevin has sold his work in Devon galleries to raise money for the Charity. He has exhibited in London, and is delighted his work is being shown at Creative Force:

“I’m chuffed to bits. The Mall Galleries is one of the top galleries in London. Right by St James Palace which I used to guard. I’m over the moon.”  

Every day, highly-trained individuals, like Kevin, face an unknown future because they have been wounded, injured, or they may have developed a serious illness whilst serving our country.

Help Kevin, and countless others who put their lives on the line for us have a second chance at life.

Life changing projects like Creative Force rely on public generosity. By donating today, you are enabling more wounded Veterans and their families to recover from physical and psychological injuries. 

"When I left the Army, I struggled to cope. I was self-medicating to numb the pain."

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