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Veteran who served prison sentence completes skydive for Norwich charity

PUBLISHED: 07:07 02 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:43 02 April 2018

David Vaughan skydived to raise money for The Walnut Tree Project. Picture: David Vaughan

David Vaughan skydived to raise money for The Walnut Tree Project. Picture: David Vaughan

David Vaughan

A veteran who turned his life around after a four-year prison sentence has completed a skydive for the Norwich charity which helped him.

David Vaughan skydived to raise money for The Walnut Tree Project. Picture: David VaughanDavid Vaughan skydived to raise money for The Walnut Tree Project. Picture: David Vaughan

David Vaughan, 36, developed severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after being medically discharged from the Royal Navy in 2005.

The father-of-two struggled to adjust to civilian life and, after developing a crippling drug addiction, attempted to take his own life in 2013.

A year later, having spiralled into debt, he was jailed for fraud.

But it was during his time in prison at HMP Norwich that he realised things needed to change.

David Vaughan skydived to raise money for The Walnut Tree Project. Picture: David VaughanDavid Vaughan skydived to raise money for The Walnut Tree Project. Picture: David Vaughan

He sought help from Luke Woodley, founder of the Norwich-based veterans charity The Walnut Tree Project, and started to turn his life around upon release.

Now, to say thank you for the assistance he received, Mr Vaughan, who previously lived in Lowestoft, has raised £1,601 for the organisation.

He did so by taking part in a 13,000ft sky dive over Beccles on Saturday, March 24.

“I was really nervous,” Mr Vaughan said. “It pushed my mental health to its limits, especially my anxiety. But I’m glad I did it.

David Vaughan skydived to raise money for The Walnut Tree Project. Picture: David VaughanDavid Vaughan skydived to raise money for The Walnut Tree Project. Picture: David Vaughan

“If it was not for him [Luke Woodley] and his charity, I would either be back in prison or dead.”

Mr Vaughan, who lives in Norwich, has not only been clean from drugs for over four years, but he is now back in full-time employment.

In recent months he has become an ambassador for the Save Our Soldier charity, and in December he will be making himself homeless for three days in support of the organisation.

Mr Vaughan said he was also planning to organise a festival next year to raise money for armed forces charities.

He said: “It’s time for me to make a difference to those who serve their country before they travel down the same path I did.

“After all I’ve been through, I know this for sure, if you’re struggling, for whatever reason, take my advice, try a little hope and self-belief and you will be amazed at what you can achieve.”

Visit 72hrshomelesschallenge.com for more info about his next challenge.

• Read about David’s full story here: http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/norfolk-military-veteran-david-vaughan-turns-his-life-around-after-four-year-prison-sentence-at-hmp-norwich-1-5219707

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