A highly inspirational British military figure, Simon Weston is a veteran who suffered life-changing injuries during the Falklands War. In 1982 he was onboard a ship that was bombed by Argentinian fighter jets. While 30 men were killed, Simon was left with 46% burns and even his closest family members could not recognise him. Unsurprisingly, this experience left Simon with PTSD and severe mental health conditions, which today make him an incredibly powerful mental health speaker. Simon attributes much of his recovery to his mother who forced him back to work and was increasingly positive in the face of tragedy.
Before the Falklands war, Simon had served in a number of conflicts, finding himself heading to some of the most hostile war zones in the world. This includes Northern Ireland, Kenya and Berlin, having joined the army aged 16 at the insistence of his mother who was concerned he would get into trouble after some minor brushes with the police. Since returning from the Falklands, Simon has undergone 96 major operations completely reconstructing his face. He also had to overcome bouts of depression which almost lead him to commit suicide, as well as an addiction to alcohol. Simon has also been active in a number of charities since the attack including the Healing Foundation for whom he is an ambassador. In the years that have passed Simon has even met the man who inflicted his injuries. Carlos Cachon was the pilot who dropped the bomb on the ship and, in a remarkable display of humility, Simon met and even became friends with Carlos.
Now, Simon has become something of a political activist combining his charity work with campaigning to the government to increase military funding. As well as this he has remained a respected mental health speaker. Not many people have had to experience the trauma that Simon has gone through, meaning his exceptional speaking events always leave an impact on audiences. An inspirational role model, Simon has shown that despite his life-changing illnesses he has continued to lead a happy and fulfilled life. At the time of his injuries, mental health was considered a taboo subject, but today Simon is pushing to further normalise speaking about mental health and shares how he is grateful to have escaped a blown up warship with his life. Empowering others to take charge of their emotional wellbeing, Simon is a true believer that it is no longer considered weak to be fragile and encourages speaking out about mental health and illness.
I just wanted to pass on that Simon Weston was absolutely brilliant! The learners benefited a great deal from these talks. – Newcastle-under-Lyme College
“Just a quick email to say, OMG, how brilliant and inspiring and amazing and, and, and everything positive……….is Simon Weston. It was such a wonderful story he told, I can’t even use the word presentation, because it genuinely felt like a story told with such warmth and humour! I was completely and utterly mesmerised throughout!” – Jas Kinslow, Learning and Development Manager, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
“Simon was fantastic and very well received- everyone I have spoken to so far has been saying how inspiring they found him- we even had a resident in the audience who was in hospital at the same time as Simon when he was first brought in with his burns- what a small world! Our Chief Executive and Board were very appreciative of him spending his time to come and talk at this very special event- as was I. He really was the perfect fit, and so adaptable and versatile, a true professional.” – Sophie Bryan Organisational Development Manager Central & Cecil