THREE members of a veterans’ organisation have been selected as finalists for prestigious armed forces’ awards.

The English Veterans Awards will be presented on September 25 at the Mercure Bristol Holland House.

Three members of Veterans In Communities, a Haslingden-based charity that works throughout East Lancashire, Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton, have been selected among the top entries.

Falklands’ veteran Darren Horsnell, 57, from Haslingden, has been involved with VIC from its inception and uses his artistic talents to inspire others.

A finalist in The Community Award category, Darren is the arts and crafts co-ordinator for VIC and, as well as running art groups, he also organises popular Painting in the Style of Bob Ross classes.

Mr Horsnell was injured during the Falklands and in the bombing of Woolwich Barracks in the early 1980s and lives with PTSD.

He said: “Being named as a finalist made me feel that everything that I have done and am still doing, not just for me but for other people’s benefit too, is being recognised.

“When I first joined VIC, I was going through a very hard time and my confidence and self-esteem were very low.

“Now, thanks to VIC, I am a much more confident person. I no longer disappear to a dark place when I am on my own. To me art is better than any medication a doctor can prescribe.”

Mr Horsnell served in the Fourth Field Regiment and has just been named as a Royal Artillery Association mentor and so will now be called upon to support and advise other artillery members.

Outreach worker Steve Butterworth, 59, from Holcombe Brook, is a finalist in the Role Model of the Year category for his work in the community as well as with the charity.

A fellow Falklands’ veteran, Mr Butterworth has been with VIC since 2012 after he was referred to the art group by the Military Veterans Service because of his painting.

He said: “I am quite a private person and I was humbled by being named as a finalist. I am contracted to do 20 hours with VIC but every month I complete an extra 45 hours.

“I am an Outreach Worker and Peer Mentor and run sessions in Rochdale on a Thursday, Pendle on a Monday, then Heywood and Middleton on alternate Tuesdays.

“I have seen two or three younger veterans and I felt like I was talking to myself, at their age. If I can stop them going through the anger and issues that I had, then I am happy.”

Last year Steve, who has complex PTSD and other medical issues, led a series of workshops in schools and the community, planned, organised and implemented the Rammy Rocks: Ramsbottom Peace Memorial Project and designed a lasting memorial in Nuttall Park.

Voluntary Outreach Worker Liz Davies, 51, from Rochdale, is a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category.

To help the veterans cover the costs of attending the award ceremony, a crowdfunding page has been set up. Anyone who wishes to donate should visit