A FORMER SOLDIER who battled depression, drink and drugs, is on the straight and narrow and hoping to inspire others.

Paul Raper, 30, recently returned to Darlington following active service in war-torn Iraq and Kosovo.

Back home, he found it difficult to adjust to civilian life. He said: “In the Army, I was instilled with aggression. I was trained to kill people and I saw things people should not have to see.

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“Then I came home and everything seemed negative, there was doom and gloom everywhere and I struggled with my demons. I started getting into a bit of trouble and even lost my job as a result of my aggression.”

The dad-of-three has now turned his back on his old life and is putting his past to rest by inspiring others to live positively. Influenced by the work of self-help guru Geoff Thompson, he is planning a series of motivational speeches and events.

He said: “I’m not trying to be Jesus. I don’t want to stand on a hill and have people follow me. I just want to do good for the community and teach people how to live a more positive life. It is not about religion, it is about living positively in the moment and not giving in to negativity. If I can change my life, anybody can.”

For more information, visit paulraper.co.uk.