Fundraiser for inspirational army veteran, known as the Stoneman, who crafts messages of hope on Southsea seafront
A FUNDRAISER has been set up for an inspirational army veteran who writes uplifting messages in pebbles at Southsea seafront.
Homeless Graham Culton, known as the Stoneman, has given thousands of passers-by a reassuring boost during lockdown and beyond.
Graham, who struggles with PTSD, anxiety and his mental health, suffered a heart attack last year and a brain injury from a serious assault.
The 46-year-old dad, who served for 10 years in the Queen’s Highlanders, started crafting the messages earlier this year to ‘promote happiness’.
But with Graham still facing struggles, the community now want to give back to him.
Southsea resident Sophie Telford, 31, decided to set up a fundraiser for Graham.
‘During this lockdown a lot of us have appreciated Graham’s art along the seafront without really knowing the man behind it,’ she said.
‘Graham is an army veteran who is going through a difficult time, therefore I think it would be wonderful if Portsmouth could pull together and raise some money to help him out.
‘His messages of hope have put smiles on many of our faces.
‘I know he has financial difficulties at the moment and it’s good to give back to someone who spends hours writing his positive messages. He is making love hearts around rocks for children to find at the moment.’
So far over £300 has been raised for Graham, who also has Asperger's, with Sophie revealing she has set a target of £1,000 - despite never meeting Graham.
‘I’ve never spoken to him but have seen him writing his messages. I sent him a message to ask for his permission to do the fundraiser and he said he was “very grateful and pleased someone would do that for him”. He sent me a thank you card.
‘It’s been a very positive response from lots of people donating to say thank you to him.’
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Graham, who is currently housed by the council, has produced numerous uplifting messages including paying tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore and NHS staff.
He left the army in 2003 after serving for 10 years including in Northern Ireland.
To donate go to: www.gofundme.com