Visit our full East Sussex College website

Our Contributors

Zoe Carroll

Zoe Carroll

The Band of Sisters are wives and partners of veterans who have received help from Combat Stress and Help for Heroes. I was one of eight ‘Band of Sisters’ chosen to go on a Sahara trek in March 2019, alongside 30 Help for Heroes fundraisers. I entered a national draw, where I had to say why I wanted to go on the trek. The experience actually began back in October 2018 with a training and respite weekend, where the eight ‘sisters’ first met. We came from across the UK, including Scotland and Devon.


Band of Sisters

 

The Sahara was chosen as the challenging conditions and environment were the nearest to Iraq and Afghanistan, meaning we were really able to visualise what our husbands went through during the time they served in the military.

The Sahara was chosen as the challenging conditions and environment were the nearest to Iraq and Afghanistan, meaning we were really able to visualise what our husbands went through during the time they served in the military.

We stacked up stones – a monument of sorts, to represent the people who have been lost or changed by a military experience.

We stacked up stones – a monument of sorts, to represent the people who have been lost or changed by a military experience.

The Sahara was chosen as the challenging conditions and environment were the nearest to Iraq and Afghanistan, meaning we were really able to visualise what our husbands went through during the time they served in the military - except for the fact that  we weren’t in full gear, and we had the help of native Berbers and their camels on our expedition.

Challenging conditions

Emotional healing

The hardest part of the trip was being away from my husband and  two children, but I wouldn’t have missed the experience for the world. A highlight of the trip was the last day where we woke at 4.30am to trek and watch the sun rise.

It was also very emotional, as we were trekking alongside fundraisers who, without them, our husbands wouldn’t have had the help and support they needed.


The one thing we all took away from the trip is that you’re never alone. We stacked up stones – a monument of sorts, to represent the people who have been lost or changed by a military experience. The group shared poems and it was a chance to say thank you to the fundraisers. Help for Heroes is the only charity that I’m aware of who support the family, offering respite for wives and spouses of veterans who suffer from PTSD. Coming from a military family means you’re used to moving around and have no real support unit. The Band of Sisters is good in that respect as we are all going through the same thing and can talk about it and feel supported.

At College I want my students to have realistic expectations about a career in the Public Uniformed Services. We want our students to be informed of the impact a career in the services can have on them. They are rewarding jobs but they do come at a cost and aren’t for everyone. Help for Heroes and Combat Stress makes us aware that it’s ok not to be ok and to be brave and ask for help.

Jamie Bedwell

Jamie Bedwell

Natasha Duursma

Natasha Duursma