PETER FRASER-HOPEWELL CMG, MBE
Our County Rep for Essex, Peter, shares his experiences of being a volunteer
Peter Fraser-Hopewell CMG, MBE first started volunteering for Combat Stress in 2016.
Since then he's taken on numerous runs and bike rides for Combat Stress, including RideLondon, and attended a number of events including our Supporter Dinners and Christmas Carols.
Peter has also done talks to a number of groups, including giving a speech at one of our corporate partners in Essex.
Question and Answers
What made you decide to volunteer for Combat Stress?
Whilst serving in the Army for over 30 years I experienced first-hand the pressures, sights and decisions, particularly on operational tours, that can impact mental health.
I have friends and colleagues who have had to, and still do, manage their mental health. And, at the extreme end I have seen personnel, under my command, affected by what they have seen and, at the extreme, take their lives.
Mental health can be a hidden, not visible, affliction but if not addressed it has long-term, and potentially huge, consequences.
When did you first start volunteering for Combat Stress?
I started volunteering for Combat Stress four years ago, after serving and seeing and experiencing mental health pressures. The first activity I undertook as a volunteer was a charity sponsored event called Fund Raising and I also volunteered at the Edinburgh Half Marathon.
What has been your favourite volunteering memory so far?
Visiting Tyrwhitt House and seeing the facilities and rehabilitation work done there. It gives me the feeling that I’m making a difference.
What moment has made you feel the proudest to volunteer for Combat Stress?
Giving a talk to serving military was good as it highlighted improved awareness by the chain of command, and made me feel like I can make a difference, particularly in Essex and Suffolk where I’m a Combat Stress Rep.
What would you say are the biggest benefits of volunteering?
The satisfaction of making a difference, mixing with veterans (for instance, by attending coffee mornings) and getting to better understand the issues that concern them.
If there’s one difference you’d like to make as a volunteer, what would it be?
To improve awareness among the general public, veterans, veteran charities, government, and within the Armed Forces about what Combat Stress can do the support those with mental issues and help raise money for the charity.
What would you say to others who are considering volunteering for Combat Stress?
This is rewarding work. Combat Stress delivers real support to those in need. As a veterans’ charity it is outcome based, helping to improve veteran mental health.
Want to get involved and volunteer for Combat Stress. Find out more on our Volunteering page