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Warrior Prince of Wales

HRH The Prince of Wales visited the innovative charity The Warrior Programme at its London office in Fulham recently.

The charity provides a unique combination of treatments to ex-Service men and women and homeless people who have been traumatised by their experiences. It’s easy to see an amputated limb – emotional scarring is harder to detect. War-related post traumatic stress disorder often presents many years later and recent events in both Iraq and Afghanistan make an increasing number of sufferers inevitable.

HRH The Prince of Wales was joined by some of the charity’s Ambassadors such as actor/adventurer Charley Boorman, the celebrated chef Antonio Carluccio OBE, John Illsley of Dire Straits and leading business personalities.

The Warrior Programme is an intensive three-day therapeutic course, which tackles emotional and mental trauma, with ongoing monthly support meetings. The course covers a carefully evaluated combination of therapies including Neuro Linguistic Programming and Time Line Therapy as well as traditional eastern approaches such as Tai Chi, Qi Energy and acupuncture. Participants in the Warrior Programme have been proved to have moved from clinical levels of psychological dysfunction to normal levels of functioning and this has been sustained.

The Prince of Wales met many of the Warriors and appeared very moved by their stories. He took the time to speak with most of those present and was clearly interested in what he saw. He said: ‘It is remarkable what can be done with this kind of integrated approach which uses the best of the ancient and the best of the modern.

‘The difficulty, of course, is overcoming natural scepticism about some of these techniques. But it’s enormously encouraging having heard from those who have been through it all and what a difference can be made.

‘We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those remarkable people who have been courageous enough to join the Armed Forces and so the whole issue is crucially important.’

The Prince of Wales met Peter who, while serving in the Army in Bosnia, found the bodies of three Croat children who had had their throats cut as punishment for speaking to him and accepting chocolate from him.

‘Those children were innocent,’ he says. ‘I could not get it out of my head that if it were not for me those children would still be alive.’

PTSD is often triggered by a second, unrelated trauma and in Peter’s case it was the death of his son, in a car crash, which he saw as punishment for the children’s slaughter. He was discharged from the Army, his marriage broke down and he began to have nightmares about the Croat children. ‘I would wake in the night screaming and shouting. My heart was pounding so much I thought I was having a heart attack.’

The Warrior Programme has changed his life, he says: ‘I’m fine now. I can sleep and I haven’t taken any medication since the course. I have a different perspective on life and I am now working at the Chelsea Hospital.’

Eva Hamilton MBE, Founding Director of the Warrior Programme, who has worked with homeless people for 20 years says: ‘We treat the underlying causes of people’s problems rather than just dealing with just the symptoms. Already the Programme is demonstrating life-changing differences to those who have been marginalised. We were delighted to have the Prince of Wales here today and the Warriors were blown away by HRH’s interest in them; his concern over their suffering and how delighted he was that the Warrior Programme has had such a remarkable effect on their lives.’

The Warrior Programme also runs ‘Warrior Plus’ courses for those who are suffering from emotional difficulties but who are able to pay. These courses help to fund the Programme for the ex-Service personnel and the homeless.

The charity’s challenge is now to roll out the Programme nationally. A £1 million Appeal was launched recently which will allow the Charity to reach out to a further 1000 ex-Service men and women who are in desperate need of help and support, over the next three years.

For more details please visit www.warriorprogramme.org.uk. Donations can now be made on 02920 381904

HRH The Prince of WalesThe Prince of Wales meets Warrior ambassador Charley BoormanHRH The Prince of Wales – picture by Sean Power