A WOUNDED former Royal Air Force hero is fighting post-traumatic stress through her love of gardening.

Gillian Parker, a former airwoman, has opened up on her fight against depression and how a Help for Heroes gardening course turned her life around.

Ms Parker, who joined the military in 1979 after years of being a young cadet, served in the RAF for seven years until a traumatic fall shattered her knee and led to her being medically discharged.

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She said: “I’d do it all again. I’d join back tomorrow if I could!"

"I didn’t want to leave the Air Force and it got me down. I’d changed a lot as a person during my service, I was diagnosed with depression after leaving and I became very low and hid away from the outside world.

“I saw a lot of death and really traumatic injuries and that stayed with me for a long time. I never used to leave the house unless I am gardening, and even then, my friend often has to convince me.”

However, her life started to turn around when she was introduced to military charities at a bowls match she attended and has now joined the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers fellowship, recently taking part in a gardening course at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House.

Ms Parker added: "I can’t stand for long periods of time because of my knee injury, but the adapted flower beds at the recovery centre made it a lot easier for me if I was struggling, and the adapted garden tools meant I didn’t have to bend for long amounts of time.

“I’ve found that when I’m gardening I’m in my own little world, the group caught me singing away to myself lots because I was so focused. The course made me feel really positive.”

Ms Parker now volunteers twice a week at South Hill Park as a gardener and is looking for a full-time position within the horticultural world.