Weston-super-Mare RAF veteran to sail around Britain

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 August 2017

Gary Alleyne who is an RAF veteran who will be sailing around Britain in a tall ship - Turn To Starboard.

Gary Alleyne who is an RAF veteran who will be sailing around Britain in a tall ship - Turn To Starboard.

Archant

A Weston-super-Mare RAF veteran is preparing to sail 2,000 miles around the UK with 16 other military veterans.

the 'Spirit of Falmouth' taken just after her paint job a couple of weeks ago.the 'Spirit of Falmouth' taken just after her paint job a couple of weeks ago.

Former Royal Armed Forces airman Gary Alleyne, aged 60, will take part in the Turn To Starboard Round Britain Challenge this month.

Gary will embark on the gruelling expedition with 16 other veterans on Saturday as they attempt to sail a 92ft tall ship from Falmouth Harbour.

Gary served in the RAF for 13 years and completed tours in the Falklands, Germany, Northern Ireland, the Gulf War and Bosnia.

After his discharge, he battled with mental health issues and was later diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2007.

The tall ship - Turn To Starboard.The tall ship - Turn To Starboard.

He said: “You are shocked by what humanity can do to each other. When you see a child run out into the street and get shot, and then their parents come to the rescue they get shot too, you can not imagine how it feels.

“It is the guilt which stays with you and that is a lot of what causes PTSD.

“When I was diagnosed I’d had enough and could not cope any more, I had given up and did not see the point of living.

“In December 2015, I had a mental breakdown and my locum, who was an ex-army doctor, took one look at me and said I needed to get help.”

Gary Alleyne taking a turn at the helm during his sailing training.Gary Alleyne taking a turn at the helm during his sailing training.

He pointed Gary in the direction of Turn To Starboard, a charity which uses sailing courses to support Armed Forces personnel who have been affected by military operations.

Gary had never sailed before but said the calming experience of being on a boat really helped him.

Gary said: “I want to get my teeth into something new and totally different from anything I have ever done before.

“I want to shake off the past and finally put it firmly behind me so that I can live my life doing what I choose to do rather than having to do just what I can get.

Gary Alleyne taking a turn at the helm during his sailing training.Gary Alleyne taking a turn at the helm during his sailing training.

“I have a purpose now and I am gaining confidence in myself to the extent where I believe I can achieve a worthwhile aspiration which I am really going to enjoy.”

The expedition, which is organised by Turn To Starboard and sponsored by the Endeavour Fund, will take eight weeks to complete and will see veterans from all walks of life set sail without an experienced crew.

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