The ex-sniper turned Church Army worker delivering food parcels in Leeds

A former army sniper turned Church Army worker is supporting a  Leeds community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Neil Obbard, 50, is helping the Bishop Young Academy in Seacroft deliver around 200 food parcels every two weeks to families in need.

Mr Obbard, of Seacroft, is also doing welfare visits - while complying with social distancing rules - to ensure children who are home schooling have what they need.

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He is involved with Leeds Faith in Schools and does voluntary work at Bishop Young Academy and St Paul's Primary School in Seacroft.

Neil ObbardNeil Obbard
Neil Obbard

The father-of-two, who works with East Leeds churches St James' St Richard's and St Paul's, joined the Light Infantry aged 24 and was an army sniper.

He completed tours of Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq during a 22-year military career.

Mr Obbard said he suffered post traumatic stress disorder while serving as a result of what he witnessed and experienced during his military service

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He said he saw mass graves while in Bosnia in 1995 to early 1996.

Neil Obbard pictured during his army days.Neil Obbard pictured during his army days.
Neil Obbard pictured during his army days.

Mr Obbard said: "You would see piles of suitcases and clothes by the roadside where people had been made to strip off."

He said: "Eventually, after other tours like Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq, it's like a cumulative effect."

Mr Obbard said he "reached out and had my God moment" during a trip to the Isle of Wight with international Christian charity Mother's Union in 2006.

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He was a staff sergeant in the Adjutant General's Corp when he left the army in 2016.

He then worked as a teaching assistant in schools before travelling the world preaching the gospel for more than three years in countries including South Africa, Italy and Poland.

Mr Obbard said: "As opposed to taking life I am now giving it and making sure people are OK. It couldn't be more different.

"It is a fantastic, fulfilling role - it is one of those jobs that if you could afford to do it for free you would do. It is rewarding to be able to help people."