Royal Navy veteran and former Buccaneer pilot Christopher Darwin, from Bridgerule, has received the Lifetime Achievement award from veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress for his dedicated support to the charity spanning the past 30 years.

On Thursday, February 22, Christopher was presented with the award by General Sir Peter Wall, former head of the British Army and now president of Combat Stress, at the charity’s annual awards ceremony in London.

To date, Christopher has raised an incredible £442,000 for various charities, including nearly £80,000 for Combat Stress, alongside a great deal of awareness for the charity’s life-changing treatment and support. Combat Stress delivers specialist treatment and support to former servicemen and women across the UK with military-related trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

After leaving the Royal Navy in 1975, Christopher spent 27 years as a civil pilot; he was also a part-time marshal at Goodwood motor circuit and worked in his wife’s pitlane when she was racing. Putting this experience to great use, since 2001 Christopher has organised more than 100 track days at prestigious circuits Goodwood, Snetterton, Llandow, and Castle Combe, allowing drivers to take their own cars at speed on a national motor circuit under disciplined conditions, supervised by experienced marshals.

During the track days he also provides veterans with free passenger rides, giving them an exhilarating experience of the circuits.

On his award, Christopher said: “I am delighted and amazed to receive this award! Track days have become my retirement hobby – I call them ‘fun with a purpose’. I must thank my core of regular drivers and particularly the managements of Castle Combe and Llandow circuits whose generous discounts make fundraising for this amazing charity so successful.”

Robert Marsh, director of fundraising at Combat Stress, said: “We’re so grateful to Christopher for supporting the charity for all these years. The money and awareness he has raised has truly been invaluable, and we are delighted to award him with the well-deserved Lifetime Achievement award.

“No other charity does what we do. We provide the most comprehensive veteran mental health treatment service in the UK, but we could not continue to do so without everything that tireless and selfless fundraisers like Christopher have done for us and the veterans who seek our help.”

More than 120 fundraisers and veteran volunteers attended Combat Stress’ annual ‘Extra Mile’ awards at the Cavalry and Guards Club in London. From selfless fundraisers like Christopher to veterans who bravely shared their experiences of living with PTSD, the winners demonstrated the invaluable creative, tenacious and determined spirit of our veterans, volunteers and fundraisers.