David joined the army in 1975 age 17. He was attached to the Corps of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME) as a vehicle mechanic. After completing trade training, David was posted to Soest in Germany, not far from the Mohne Dam, which is the famous site of the Dam busters. Whilst in Germany, David took part in the Queens Silver Jubilee parade in Sennelager on 7 July 1977 before being transferred to Munster.
David spent a further 13 years in the army until October 1988, during which time, he had worked in Canada, Belize, Lemgo in Germany, Lisbon and Ballerkelly Ireland.
On leaving the army, David moved to Bradford where he struggled to find work and quickly went down the slippery slope of becoming dependent on alcohol.
“I lost my friends, my family (who I have not spoken with since) and my house. I spent 5/6 years as an alcoholic before waking up one morning wondering what I had done to my life, I needed to start again if I wasn’t to end up dead so I went cold turkey and quit the drink without help, despite there being many hard times where I felt I might end up back on it.”
“A fresh start was needed so I closed my eyes and put a pin in the map. I headed to Worcester where the pin had landed. In Worcester, I managed to get a job as an engineer at a car plant and things started to come together and the future looked bright again until arthritis set in and I was unable to hold the spanners to do the work.”
David decided to move back to the north and settled in Hull in an area he describes as ‘rough’ and ‘undesirable’, enduring having his windows smashed twice. This forced David to move again, settling next in an over 55’s residential home in Darlington. Again, David struggled with lack of communication between the residents which led him to feel alone and isolated and forced him to move again, this time to St. Ives.
“I only spent three weeks there before Covid-19 set in and once again, I headed north, this time with my camping gear and was camping in the Yorkshire Dales until the police moved me on. Again, I headed north to the backpackers’ hostel in Byker. I engaged with Crisis Skylight and after three weeks, the hostel offered me a bedsit. This was unbearable due to the others smoking and myself being a non-smoker, so Crisis Skylight managed to put me in touch with Avondale House.”
David is grateful to Crisis Skylight for the support he needed by helping him get into Avondale House where he feels he has a fresh start at last.
“I can’t thank Crisis Skylight enough for the help they given me and for putting me in touch with Launchpad. The staff at Avondale House have been fantastic from day one. They have given me a purpose in life again after being on a downward spiral where I had thoughts of suicide. It is not a place I ever want to go back to in my life and Avondale House saved me from taking my life.
“Since joining Avondale House, I have engaged in many activities and found new hobbies thanks to my keyworker Sam. I help in the garden, put out bird feeders and am part of the photography group where I have just completed a project called Covid through the camera.”
David has hopes for the future and would like to eventually live back in Yorkshire to continue with his newfound hobbies.
“I am always willing to help wherever I can and give back to Avondale House just as they give to me.”