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Dave's story

Hi, my name is Dave Fincham. I am 55 and served with the Royal Engineers and special forces between 1984 and 1992 completing tours in Northern Ireland and the Balkans .

After leaving the army, I thought life was good and was becoming successful in my work within the corporate world. Peer pressure started to force me out of my comfort zone, and although financially stable, was not happy.

Looking back, I don’t think I had ever really been happy. I was bullied badly at school; one of my reasons for joining the army, only to find I was targeted in the army during my early years due to my early success.

I started drinking in the army, as many do, but this turned into a habit.

Years later, I found myself really struggling. I had a failed marriage, failed relationship and started drinking heavily. I was self medicating, but was drinking spirits in the morning to get a buzz, or so I thought. I was still holding down a corporate job, but was slowly sliding down a slippery slope.

I was out walking all night, sleeping rough in dark places, woods, barns, outside churches. I was lying to family and friends and really struggling.

I was looking for help, but didn’t know where to go, or who to call. I was feeling very nervous about admitting my problems.

I tried calling numerous charities and was turned away, or passed to the next charity. The rejection had a massive negative impact on me, and I was drinking even more. Suicidal thoughts and plans now being put into place.

I finally crashed and broke down and was admitted into hospital by ambulance. It was after this, that I was picked up by a charity Steps To Change who assessed me over the telephone and realised the complexity of the problem. This phone call resulted in my referral to two amazing charities; St Andrews Care and Outside The Wire.

The first call to Outside The Wire was such a massive relief. I spoke with Wayne initially who was an army veteran, and straight away, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. Somebody that I could relate too.

I was put under the care of Justin who has been amazing. Regular face to face meetings, phone calls. Assessing and measuring results of agreed plans we had put in place.

I was diagnosed with CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and tools were provided to me to start getting me fixed.

During my program, if I felt anxious, rather than just go out walking, I started taking photographs and writing poetry, trying to focus on something else, but to try and capture my journey in photographs.

Click here to view Dave's work

I was signed off my CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) after eighteen months of treatment through St Andrews.

I continue to maintain my regular calls with Justin and Outside The Wire. I do believe that without the intervention of Outside The Wire and St Andrews, that I would not be writing this feature.

If anyone is struggling that is reading this, please do not lose hope. Talk to someone in confidence. Try and ask for help. Expect some rejection initially, but do not give up.

I am in a much happier place with ideas to move forward and have the full support of my partner Alli, my cat Louki and my friends at The Matthew Project.

Best wishes,


A selection of Dave's images. Do visit his website to see more!

01603 626 123


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