Wigan ex-soldier takes plunge for trauma victims and the sea

Veterans Jonathan Beever and Steven Atkin
Veterans Jonathan Beever and Steven Atkin

A Wigan ex-soldier who suffered brain damage in a motorbike crash is hoping to help raise money for military veterans and serving personnel who have suffered from life-changing physical and mental trauma.

Jonathan Beever, 30, escaped the 2016 accident with his life but sustained a head injury which left him with memory problems and serious mental health issues.

The former bomb disposal expert, who now works in software testing at Barclay’s Bank, slid into a deep depression following the incident as he fought to return to normality.

Thanks to Deptherapy, a charity which helps active, discharged and retired military personnel by teaching them to scuba dive - Jonathan has been able to get his life back on track, recently moving into a new home in Pemberton.

“Deptherapy made contact with me through my old commander,” he said. “They took me on board last May and my mental health has gone from being awful to really happy.

“I have just come back from helping the new guys. We have talks about PTSD which are really helpful.

“A number of people have openly claimed that the charity has saved their lives. There was one lad who was trying to commit suicide and the chairman called him and spoke to him for four hours. No one gets paid it is all voluntary and all of the money goes back to the people who need it.”

The charity also raises awareness of issues relating to the destruction of ocean environments by man-made waste. Recently, a team of 30 wounded-in-service vets, all programme members of Deptherapy, launched a project to “give back” to the marine environment that they credit with turning their lives around.

Charity trustee Ben Lee said: “Deptherapy changed my life forever. If I could, I would live underwater: the tranquility, the beauty, it just blows your mind. You feel at one with nature.”

Jonathan has organised a karting event at the popular Three Sisters Race Circuit, Bryn, to help raise money for the charity who helped to improve his life so drastically.

The event will see 20 teams go head-to-head in an endurance race around the track.

Ten teams including charity volunteers and Jonathan’s Barclays colleagues, have already signed up but there are still 10 team spaces up for grabs. Each team is allowed between two to five drivers, with each team advised to change driver at least three times if not four throughout the race.

“Three sisters have given us 10 per cent off the price of the track,” added Jonathan. “That is the money going to the charity - the rest is going to pay for the event. If we get 10 teams we will raise a solid £500 for Deptherapy.”

Jonathan is also hoping to acquire adapted karts so amputees can take part. Entry is £270 per team.

To register email Jonathan.Beever@barclayscorp.com