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Blades rally behind helpline for ex-servicemen and women

20 April 2015

United is rallying behind a helpline which helps ex-servicemen and women fight Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


The Club are getting behind Sapper Support, a free 24/7 helpline which was set up by former bomb disposal engineer and lifelong Blade Tim Evers to support those with PTSD symptoms or direct them to healthcare services.


The 46-year-old, from Gomersal, West Yorkshire, was inspired to start the helpline, which is staffed entirely by volunteer ex-servicemen, after attending the annual Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in London last year to learn that a friend troubled by the anxiety disorder had committed suicide.


Tim, an ex-Blades junior player who served in Bosnia during his career with the Royal Engineers and currently works as a firefighter, said: "The thought that he had found himself in such a position that he felt unable to carry on and not speak out filled me with rage. Troops were returning to England after years of fighting, escaping serious physical injury, only to take their own lives. I felt something had to be done and that's how Sapper Support started.


"If a veteran works up the courage to call us we are able to provide 24/7 instant support. Civilian lines seem to struggle with the language of the common soldier which is why we feel having veterans help veterans is a huge benefit of our helpline.


"The venture has proved hugely successful and interestingly we have also noticed that we have taken a high percentage of calls from people suffering from second hand PTSD such as wives, girlfriends and family members of sufferers who are struggling to cope with the effects of this illness.


"The light at the end of the tunnel can seem a very long way off for some, but we will walk with anyone that requires our support."


Sheffield United has now backed Sapper Support, with first team players and other Club staff members rallying for support of the helpline.


Dave McCarthy, Operations Director at United, said: "After hearing about the work that Tim has done to set up the helpline and the selflessness of the volunteers in providing 24/7 support, the Club was keen to give its backing to the helpline to build upon the fantastic relationships we already enjoy with a number of local charities.


"Sapper Support is a national initiative which does tremendous work in giving support to returning servicemen and women who are struggling with PTSD and one we are proud to support as they look to expand their services further."


Sapper Support can be contacted on 0800 040 7873. For more information, or to donate, visit www.sappersupport.com


* Sapper Support founder and ex-Royal Engineer Tim Evers is joined by Sheffield United's playing squad and staff.


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