Afghanistan hero retires from All Call Signs after helping save hundreds of suicidal veterans

AN AFGHANISTAN hero who helped set up a charity to save the lives of suicidal veterans has stepped down after three years.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 4:23 pm
Dan Arnold, pictured outside All Call Signs' HQ in Albert Road, Southsea. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150619-4)

Forces campaigner Dan Arnold, co-founder of Southsea-based All Call Signs, has announced will be resigning from the charity in the spring.

It comes after the former soldier was headhunted by the NHS to set up a new peer support service for those struggling with mental health problems.

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From left, Stephen James, Viv Johnston and Dan Arnold. All Call Signs Birthday event , Andrew Simpson Watersports Centre, Eastern Road. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (240819-34)

Dan, 34, who previously served with the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, said: ‘I will forever be proud of All Call Signs and what it continues to achieve with the team we have built and its amazing community of loyal supporters.

‘As All Call Signs continue to grow from strength to strength I feel now is a good time for me to concentrate on myself and my beautiful young family.

‘I am really looking forward to continuing to work in the mental health support space within the NHS.’

Dan set up All Call Signs with friend and fellow veteran, Stephen ‘SJ’ James, following the suicide of their pal, special forces hero Danny Johnston, in May, 2018.

From left, Stephen Morgan MP, Dan Arnold, Viv Johnston and Stephen James during a debate at the House of Commons. Picture: Tom Cotterill

Determined to save other suicidal veterans, the pair built up a peer-support service to help forces heroes in crisis, which now has more than 500 volunteers.

They also created a ‘Beacon’ alert system which can mobilise a search party anywhere in the country within 20 minutes if a soldier indicates he is in crisis.

Their efforts have seen them save the lives of more than 100 suicidal veterans, last year earning them a ‘Points of Light’ award from the prime minister.

Leading from the front, Dan would often spearhead searches for missing veterans, co-ordinating actions with the emergency services.

Comrade Stephen, who is remaining with the charity, praised Dan for all his ‘tireless work’ during the past three years.

‘Through its work supporting clients, campaigning for better care pathways for veterans and its use of social media to help recover those who go missing, All Call Signs has become a household name among the veteran and serving community – largely in part to Dan’s tireless efforts and guidance,’ he said.

‘The All Call Signs family wishes Dan well on his next adventure and will be forever grateful for all he has achieved.’

As well as running the charity, Dan and Stephen have been key advocates in the battle for veterans’ rights.

They have supported The News’ campaign calling on the government to do more to combat veteran suicide rates.

Following Dan’s departure will be the charity’s director Viv Johnston, mother of special forces hero Danny Johnston.

She said: ‘I am immensely proud of my association with All Call Signs and I will forever be grateful that Danny’s name is synonymous with the group.

‘His death was the catalyst for this life-saving, life-changing idea that has become the success it is today and I am so grateful that his name is honoured at the very foundation of the All Call Signs group.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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