Monday, 26 November 2018

Homeless war hero, 37, who lived in hilltop cabin like Rambo while battling PTSD from Afghanistan returns from Remembrance Sunday event to find forest officials have DEMOLISHED it (11 Pics)

A RAMBO war hero whose mountain home was flattened by forestry officials fumed: “I’m devastated and struggling to comprehend why.”
Ex-lance corporal Mike Allen, 37, was diagnosed with PTSD after seeing pals blown up by bombs in Afghanistan.
His marriage collapsed and he had to kip on friends’ sofas before building his remote cabin — without forestry permission.
When he returned from a Remembrance Sunday weekend earlier this month he found the retreat and his belongings gone.
Mike, who had lived there for two years, said: “The cabin was my home, my sanctuary. It was causing no harm to anyone — and curing me. I wouldn’t be alive today without it.”
On his Afghanistan tour in 2011 Mike spent nearly seven months clearing bombs. He said: “One day an Afghan policeman next to me stepped on a device and was blown up. I saw it all. We had to carry his body. It was horrific. I still get flashbacks.”
Mike was in a “very, very bad way” when he returned.
He left the Royal Welsh in 2014 and two years later his mum died. He added: “By then I’d been diagnosed with PTSD and her passing pushed me too far.
“The mental-health help available for veterans is terrible, and does far more damage than good.
“I wanted to go away from society where I saw so much stress.
“I found a way to fix myself at no cost to the taxpayer. I got better to the point where I was able to start work again as a groundsman.
“The cabin started as a shelter but turned into something really special. It was healing me. It gave me cover from the elements, focus, and a sense of accomplishment whilst appreciating the landscape.
“The powers-that-be obviously saw fit it be demolished without warning. All my tools, sleeping bags, clothes, food and creature comforts have been levelled.”
Mike created a gym at the spot near Wattsville, South Wales, and invited fellow veterans for health and fitness breaks. He added a flower garden and treehouse for when kids Honey, eight, and Shea, six, visited.
The cabin was destroyed by Natural Resources Wales, a Welsh Government-sponsored body that replaced Forestry Commission Wales in 2013. A spokesman said: “Our officers recently found an illegal structure on land we manage near Wattsville. It was built without our knowledge or permission.
“The surrounding ground had been excavated, environmental features damaged and trees felled.

“The scale of this build could have been a risk for visitors and was not appropriate for the area.
“We visited three times before we took action and did not believe anyone was living there.”
Mike is back to sleeping on sofas. But he vowed: “I’ll rebuild the cabin and continue to help others.”

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