A Parachute Regiment veteran was found dead on a railway line just three days after volunteering to sell poppies.
Kevin McDonnell, 39, said he was doing his bit to “help our heroes”. But pals say the ex-Para – who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland – took his own life after suffering PTSD.
On October 19, he posted a picture of himself with the caption: “Doing my bit in the Asda to help our heroes.”
Three days later his body was found on the tracks near a station in Liverpool.
The tragedy left former regiment colleagues stunned. One wrote: “Thinking of you Kev, it was a privilege to have met you, such a beautiful soul who bravely fought for us all….truly wish you could of overcome your own battles RIP Kev….xx.”
Another added: “May you find peace now my friend, you were a true warrior, who I will miss until we meet again in Valhalla.”
Many of the Paras he served with have contributed to a JustGiving page which has raised over £3,000 to help pay for his funeral.
Former Army Warrant Officer Jim Wilde, from the group Veterans United Against Suicide, said: “Far too many veterans are dying from suicide without anyone in government attempting to find out why.
“It is absolutely tragic that a relatively young veteran has taken his own life just days after he was selling poppies and raising money for service charities.”
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Kevin fulfilled his “boyhood dream” to join the Army at 18, and served until 2005. He retrained as a fitness instructor and moved to Guernsey to start his own company.
On LinkedIn, he wrote: “During my service I completed Tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. These were extremely high pressure and dangerous environments and were very testing. I learned a great deal from these experiences.”
So far this year 69 serving and former members of the armed forces have died from suicide.
If you need someone to listen contact the Samaritans on 116 123.
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