A VETERAN is set to hold an art exhibition after turning his life around from poverty, depression and isolation.

Artist John Cutting had a difficult return to civilian life after experiencing “traumatic events” in his four-year service with the Royal Engineers, during which he did two tours of Northern Ireland in 1972.

With the help of military charities including SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, and Combat Stress, he got his life back on track and will showcase art produced as part of a fine art degree at a showcase in Newton Aycliffe.

Mr Cutting, 65, of Bishop Middleham said: “I am about to start my second semester at the University of Teesside, which without the financial help I have received from SSAFA, I don’t know whether this would have been possible. Although people may just see an offering of financial help, it all makes for a holistic package of support. Combat Stress got me on my feet and SSAFA made it possible to stay standing up.”

Following his military service Mr Cutting struggled with depression, isolation and at his lowest contemplated taking his life.

SSAFA, Combat Stress and the SAS Regimental Association helped support him establish a stable home environment and buy items to make his house a home.

With more confidence he decided to study fine art and enrolled at university.

As a mature student he did not qualify for a full student loan and via SSAFA was able to find funding from the Royal Engineers Association while he got a bursary from the Army Benevolent Fund.

To mark the centenary of the First World War, the exhibition featuring work by Mr Cutting, his classmates and other veterans will be open in a unit on Beveridge Way, Newton Aycliffe town centre, from Tuesday to Sunday, November 11, from 11am to 5pm.