DJ begins lifelong project to raise £250,000 for mental health support across Waveney and Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Archant
A Lowestoft DJ has embarked on a lifelong project to raise money and awareness for those living with mental health disorders.
Paul Hammond is hoping to raise £250,000 for community projects across Waveney and Great Yarmouth through his 'Back 2 Life' campaign.
The 59-year-old, who performs under the moniker of DJ Editorial Spark, said: 'I want to help anyone who has suffered from a mental health disorder.
'The aim is to raise awareness, offer support and provide invaluable assistance to those suffering from these much stigmatised illnesses.'
In 2011 Mr Hammond stepped away from his music career to travel to Kenya and provide aid to people suffering in the Horn of Africa Crisis.
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He said: 'Up to 25,000 children were dying each month due to dehydration and starvation.
'I organised a 30-tonne aid convoy and spent a number of years providing aid and helping set up a sustainable farm project for communities.'
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However the day-to-day experiences of life in Kenya began to take its toll.
Mr Hammond said: 'The reality of the crisis in Kenya plus the violence and constant threat and intimidation caused me to develop severe post-traumatic stress disorder and I became very ill.'
In December 2012 he was flown home.
He said: 'In the four years that followed I lost everything, my career, my home, my livelihood.'
'Now I am hoping to use music, the thing that saved my life, to create specialist events and raise money for mental health organisations.'
As part of the 'Back 2 Life' campaign Mr Hammond will host special music nights at The Oak Tavern, in Crown Street, throughout the year.
The campaign has been endorsed Access Community Trust, Time To Change and Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind.
It is also supported by Lowestoft's mental health ambassador Tod Sullivan, who said: 'Paul is honest about his experiences and has a strong message.
Mr Sullivan added: 'It is a big ask but it is his passion and he is putting all of his energy into it.'
'It's become his life's work.'
Information about upcoming 'Back 2 Life' music events can be found at The Saturday Gig Facebook page.
Donations to the 'Back 2 Life' Community Fund can be made at www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/backtolife