Aldershot man sets off on charity walk for PTSD awareness following father's death

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Mel Bloor

A man from Aldershot is hoping to raise awareness of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the death of his father.

Thomas Jones says: "My dad was a big character. He was known in the travelling community and in the travelling showman community for singing at weddings up and down the country and charity events. He stood up to bullies and had a history of standing up to local villains and he built bridges and broke down social barriers in the community he lived in."

His dad Tom Jones was 54 when he took his own life in February 2020.

Tom Jones with three of his grandchildren

He suffered from PTSD before his death after being caught up in a bank robbery in Liphook in 2016.

In an attempt to wrestle one of the robbers to the ground, Tom was stabbed and shot twice - leaving a pellet lodged in his brain.

Tom and his wife, who were paying in money at the bank when the robbery took place, subsequently received bravery awards from Hampshire Constabulary's chief constable.

But his son says it wasn't long after that, that Tom became a shadow of his former self.

He says: "So before the robbery my dad had a good sense of humour, he put on a brave face afterwards but we could see he was a different person."

Thomas Jones has set off on a charity walk to raise money for the Samaritans. Credit: ITV News Meridian

On Tuesday (25 August) despite the terrible weather, Thomas set off on a gruelling 100 mile charity walk along the South Downs Way.

He's hoping his charity walk along the South Downs Way will help others struggling with PTSD reach out.

He'll complete around 18 miles every day finishing at Eastbourne Pier on Sunday - his motivation - that some good may come from his father's tragic death.

"I'm taking inspiration from the fact that when I've completed my walk my dad's death won't be in vain and hopefully if I can help just one other person then I will have done my job."

So far he's raised around £5,000 for the Samaritans and hopes for more donations over the next five days.