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July 21, 2023

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Fundraising

Mental health champion raises money for veterans in security

After 717km cycled and 25,538ft of climb in Scotland, the Pyrenees and Wales, 78-year-old ex-Marine Jonathan Thomson completes his trip to raise funds for PTSD Resolution. 

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Jonathan Thomson

On Sunday 18 June a team of four intrepid cyclists, led by former marine Jonathan Thomson, set off from Northern Scotland on a 7-day bike ride around the Orkney and Shetland islands – all to raise much-needed funds for UK veterans’ mental health charity, PTSD Resolution, through the Just Giving website.

The charity works with a range of security associations – including ASIS, City Security Council, the Security Institute and Worshipful Company of Security Professionals, and the OSPAs – to help veterans who may be suffering trauma arising from military service or their work in security.

PTSD Resolution was founded in 2009 to provide therapy for forces’ veterans, reservists and their families. The charity has said that therapy is free and delivered both promptly and locally through a UK-wide network of 200 therapists – treatment is also said to be available online or by phone.

This was Jonathan’s fourth cycle ride for PTSD Resolution, and his fundraising total is over £100,000. With a standard course of therapy costing the charity £750, and delivered for free, Jonathan will soon have helped up to 133 veterans out of the darkness:

“Too many of our veterans working in security and other sectors suffer the evil effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD,” he says. “This wrecks their lives and deeply affects those of their families and close friends. It is also a major cause of suicide.”

On his Shetland adventure, Jonathan was joined by: Jim, a former naval pilot; Matt, a former Royal Marine; and Jez, an ex-Marine and an amputee. The route took the team from Forsinard in the Scottish Highlands to the northernmost point of Shetland – coinciding with the Longest Day on 21st June.

“Monumental achievement” 

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The team of four intrepid cyclists, led by former marine Jonathan Thomson

The 7-day schedule included a great deal of island-hopping – 10 ferry crossings, with one overnight – and some very complicated timings. Bikes were laden with all their kit as the team had no support and very little backup. “We are not the youngest team either,” Jonathan says. “We are 78, 73, 64 and 42.”

All costs were covered privately by the team, so all funds raised will go directly to PTSD Resolution.

Since his 2020 solo cycle around the north coast of Scotland, Jonathan’s expeditions have steadily gained momentum. In 2021, he was joined by fellow cyclists for ‘Raid ’21’, a gruelling journey across the Pyrenees from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic – and last year a team of four cycled the length and breadth of Wales.

PTSD Resolution CEO, Charles Highett, extends his thanks to the ‘Shetland ’23’ team, as they recover after their very northerly adventure:

“Jonathan’s various challenges have, to date, facilitated the mental health recovery of over 100 UK veterans. PTSD Resolution has helped over 4000 veterans, reservists and family members recover their mental health, and we continue to receive an average of 8 new referrals a week.

“Jonathan and his cycling teams display the sort of energy and dedication that enables us to continue in our important work.

“We congratulate Jonathan and the ‘Shetland ’23’ team on their monumental achievement – and ask all potential donors to support this valiant effort as far as they are able.”

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