A music festival to remember a soldier who took his own life after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be held in his hometown of Milford Haven today (Saturday).
After joining the Army aged 18, Gary Boswell served with the Royal Regiment of Wales in Iraq, Germany and Canada for almost two years.
But after returning home from his first tour of Iraq, his family became aware the 20-year-old was struggling to cope.
Tragically, he took his own life shortly after.
A decade after his death, his family have organised a day of music and fun to remember Gary and his “gentle soul”.
“We wanted to celebrate his life instead of thinking every year about what happened,” said Gary’s older sister Emma Francis.
“It’s ten years on, he would have been 30 now and a lot would have changed.”
A true music fan, Emma said her brother would have really enjoyed the entertainment filled day they have planned.
“He loved all sorts of music from rock and indie to pop and everything in between,” she said.
“He was also becoming quite good at playing guitar and dreamed about being able to play one day at the many festivals he attended.”
The all-day event will also be fundraising for four charities that his family feel could have helped Gary.
Any money made will be shared between Help for Heroes, Combat Stress, and mental health charity Mind and Prevention of Suicide in Young Adults (PAPRYS).
“People aren’t aware of PTSD, and they choose not to because it’s how humans are - we’re quite ignorant to things that aren’t directly affecting us,” said Emma.
She said that the lack of local jobs, and the lure of travelling the world and earning money with the Army, had been very appealing to Gary.
“It was something he was interested in, and a lot of boys that age are very impressionable – we wouldn’t have been able to dissuade him even if we had wanted to,” she added.
But she feels young people going into the forces are not given enough information about the possible serious impacts on their health.
“I don’t think Gary thought about that aspect of it,” she said.
“If we are able to help one family or one person by raising awareness, then this day will be a fantastic achievement, and would be a real comfort for my family and myself.”
Tickets for the music event, which takes place at Milford Haven Rugby Club, Hakin, on Saturday, July 26, are £5 for adults and children go free.
The fun starts at 2.30pm, and goes on all day and night until the early hours.
There will be acoustic music and a variety of acts, entertainment, fairground rides and bouncy castles during the day, with live bands in the evening.
For more information on the event and the entertainment, search for the ‘Bozzys memorial music event’ page on Facebook.