He’s a Dad, Veteran, Ambassador and Poet. Meet Simon Bangert, creator of the ‘Together’ poem.
Simon Bangert served for 10 years in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E) between 1994-2004, before being medically discharged from service. It was in 2013 that Simon joined the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers fellowship after hearing about the support network, while fundraising for the charity. He received help with his PTSD through Hidden Wounds and became part of Creative Force; a collective where veterans can showcase their creative talents and contribute art to a public exhibition.
Simon quickly realised the therapeutic benefits of painting and poetry through his initial visits to the art room at Phoenix House Recovery centre in Catterick. He says,’’ I use it to relax and it allows me to switch off, my only thoughts whilst I'm painting or drawing is what's going on the paper, not my physical pain or any stressful thoughts’’.
Simon’s interest in poetry writing grew over time, he began using it as a form of release for his feelings, ‘’I wrote some as a kid but I started writing it more and more when I was out fishing and I would sit in my bivvy during the dark nights writing the odd poem, and when I was undergoing therapy I started to use it as a tool to convey feelings and thoughts’’. He says the Together poem conveys his account of being in service and is a tale of strength and friendship. ‘’It conveys the strength of the veteran community and brotherhood that serving has, in that we will fall down with you, but we'll also be there to pick you up’’.
The help Simon’s received has had a massive impact on his life, ’’The support from Help for Heroes has changed my life, that's not an over exaggeration. Prior to their support I had been fighting PTSD and the system for some time and through the hidden wounds project and things like creative force my life has positively changed for the better, and not only mine but that of my daughter’s as well, who I've raised alone since my medical discharge’’.
Simon shared how he felt to be a Help for Heroes Ambassador, he said, ‘’In one word, honoured. Help for Heroes have been a huge reason that I continue waking up each day, as they were there when I was at my lowest and signposted me to the support I needed, and gave my daughter a Dad that she deserved’’.
To supporters and customers, Simon has one message:
‘’Thank you!! It never sounds enough to say thank you but there are no words that can quantify the gratitude that I and many others feel for the second chance we've been given, all made possible by the supporters of Help for Heroes’’.