IT IS four years since Fusilier Andy Greaves left the army and at first he was struggling, but thanks to support from a veterans’ charity he has turned his life around.

He left the 1st Battalion in February 2014 with anxiety, depression and symptoms of PTSD, but these went undiagnosed for about eight to 12 months and were compounded by his autism.

Andy, 28, from Baxenden, said: “I was in a very dark place at times and I was suicidal. Everyone threw me away because of my mood swings.

“In the Infantry I wasn’t aware of my problems it was only when I left that they became obvious. Everything in my life fell apart.”

He was 20 when he joined up and because he already had an autism diagnosis it took an extra three weeks before he was accepted for basic training. He then went on to serve in Afghanistan.

Andy joined Haslingden-based Veterans In Communities in early 2016 after being signposted by his GP and began volunteering on a number of projects, some of which have been funded by a grant from the ABF: The Soldiers’ Charity.

His story is now being used as a case study and a team from the charity’s London base came out to interview Andy and photograph him at work at VIC’s allotment in Helmshore.

He said: “I have had a lot of time to sit and think about what I want out of life and I started volunteering at Stubbylee Greenhouses in Bacup.

“With their help and VIC I have completed a foundation course in horticulture and I may become a gardener in the future.”

Andy is currently working as a labourer with an online auction house.

Operations Manager Bob Elliott said: “Andy is a changed person to the one who came here two years ago.

“We are delighted to see the progress he has made in his personal life and pleased to have been able to play our part in it.”

Veterans In Communties works with and for veterans and you can call 01706 833180.