A BASINGSTOKE veteran is front and centre of the latest BBC Lifeline programme in an appeal by TV personality and BAFTA-winning documentary maker Ross Kemp.

Lifeline is a monthly 10-minute programme broadcast on BBC One highlighting the work of a charity and appealing for donations to support its activities. And, for July, it is Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes.

Liz McConaghy, 40, from Basingstoke, was the youngest aircrew member to deploy to Iraq and the only female crewman on the Chinook wing to do so for four years.

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After 10 tours. she suffered a neck injury owing to the weight of her helmet and was subsequently discharged. 

This, combined with the Covid lockdowns, made life incredibly difficult for her and she tried to take her own life. Luckily, she was put in touch with Help for Heroes where she received counselling from the Hidden Wounds service.

Liz said: “Without the support of Help for Heroes I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today. Their counsellors understand my situation and are there when I need them – even if I haven’t picked up the phone for a while, they’re there to help me when I ask.”

Now Liz has been included in the Lifeline appeal and can be seen on BBC1 on July 2 at 2.05pm, again on BBC Two on July 4 at 8.50am and on iPlayer throughout July – alongside former Eastender Kemp, a patron of Help for Heroes.

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Veterans are no longer in the headlines, but their daily struggles are no less challenging and demand for support services is increasing. Help for Heroes supported eight per cent more veterans and family members in its 2021/22 financial year than in the previous year.

But its income, the vast majority of which comes from the generosity of the British public, has reduced by more than half since 2014.

When a conflict ends, the battles don’t stop for everyone. Help for Heroes champions the Armed Forces community and helps them live well after service. The charity helps them, and their families, to recover and get on with their lives. It has already supported more than 28,500 people and won’t stop until every veteran gets the support they deserve.