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The childhood and life long dream of being a Royal Marines Commando looks like it is finally coming to an end, as I am about to go to the Naval Service Medical Board of Survey with a very strong chance of being medically discharged. Thirty years plus of serving Her Majesty and the Country, which has involved numerous operational deployments around the globe have finally taken their toll.
I was first diagnosed with PTSD in 2000 after an operational deployment to Kosovo in the Balkans, but even after treatment some years later its has continued to re-present itself. More operational deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa and coupled with other injuries and life changing illnesses have meant that its time for me to move onto new pastures, even though this breaks my heart as i can’t continue to do the job I love and adore. I have never and i will never hide the fact that i have a mental illness and in order for me to cope with the day to day reality of living with such a condition means I have to have a series of “anchors” to try and contain it and one day hopefully beat it. One of these anchors is sport with cycling becoming a big part of my life, as it gives me the time and space i need to think things through and of course give me the challenges I have constantly searched for whilst being a Royal Marine.
So with this in mind, excuse the pun, and after a conversation with Charlie Summer (the other member of the Baldy Bikers) the challenge of riding from London to Paris in under 24 Hours was born. For reasons I have already briefly described I will be doing it to help raise money for Combat Stress, a fantastic charity who help troubled Service Personnel, both serving and veterans on a daily basis. It therefore goes without saying, please donate as much as you can in order to help those individuals who have done their duty for God, Queen and Country.
Many thanks and kind regards
Maj Scott Ashley MBE RM
Donations welcome here