A TRAUMATISED veteran who completed three tours of Bosnia has found release though learning to create beautiful pieces of woodwork.

Former Army chef Andy Lake, who lives in Catterick Garrison, was medically discharged with physical and mental injuries and was on the verge of a breakdown when he first went to the Help For Heroes-run Phoenix House Recovery Centre.

But the 46-year-old now hopes to help others find the same solace by raising funds for a permanent woodwork facility.

At the centre, which provides support to service personnel and veterans who have suffered life changing injuries and illnesses, Mr Lake began learning woodwork and has now made several intricately-carved decorative pieces.

He said: “Woodworking is quite technical but when you are doing it, you are not thinking of the pain, disabilities or problems left at home but about what you are trying to achieve and the pleasure you will get out of the piece.”

Now a group of woodworking volunteers has launched the Workshop for Heroes campaign to raise £30,000 to build a permanent woodworking facility at the centre to aid in the recovery process.

The project was officially launched by tool manufacturer Robert Sorby at the North of England Woodworking and Power Tool Show in Harrogate.

The project aims to offer recovering soldiers the opportunity to be inspired by master woodsmen from many disciplines, including coracle building, bow making, carving and woodturning.

Mr Lake said: “A proper workshop means more people will be able to use the facilities, and courses will give people the chance to gain qualifications in woodwork.”

Mr Lake, who uses a walking frame, joined the Army Catering Corps in 1988 when he was 20-years-old, but it was in Bosnia in 1991 that he sustained an injury to his left leg after a switching unit fell on him, and he never fully recovered. He also suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Having been medically discharged from the Army in 2005, Mr Lake looked after his daughter, Lesleigh, now seven, at home. But when she started school, he had a breakdown as the routine of looking after her fell away.

To contribute to The Northern Echo appeal to raise £100,000 for Phoenix House, print out the form at http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/resources/files/31397, and send with a cheque for Help For Heroes – the form is necessary to ensure the money is directed to Phoenix House.

Send to Help For Heroes, Northern Echo Appeal, Phoenix House Recovery Centre, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, DL9 3AW.