‘Speaker, challenger, survivor’: Leeds war veteran Simon Buckden’s public PTSD battle

Simon Buckden carries the Olympic flame between Headingley and Harehills in June 2012
Simon Buckden carries the Olympic flame between Headingley and Harehills in June 2012
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Simon Buckden has built a public profile on his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and his mission to raise awareness of the condition.

Having allegedly suffered abuse as a child and served the army for 12 years in conflicts in Iraq, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Rwanda, he said he was left with deep-seated mental scars.

A profile on his Facebook group ‘Simon Buckden - Speaker - Challenger - Survivor’ says: “The atrocities of war were to have a devastating and lasting affect on Simon’s life.”

However, it wasn’t until several years after he left the armed forces that he said he was formally diagnosed with PTSD in 2005.

According to the Facebook group “The struggles he had faced, getting diagnosed and finding support with his mental health made Simon determined that no one else should go through what he had been through and this began another epic journey for Simon.”

Since his diagnosis, he has gone on to speak in public about his experiences and gained further publicity when he set out to complete 100 marathons in 100 weeks, starting in 2011, to raise awareness of PTSD and fundraise for Help for Heroes.

He abandoned that feat having finished 51 races after suffering another apparent blow in February 2012 when he revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer.

The same year he started a campaign to lobby the government for changes that would help those suffering with PTSD.

He was recognised for his work by being made one of the torchbearers for the Olympic Games of 2012.

The following year, having said that he had overcome cancer, he set up Positive Action For PTSD to further his campaign.

Buckden was arrested in August last year and was charged with seven counts of fraud after answering bail on Friday.