A war veteran has revealed how kindhearted Hull locals saved his Christmas last year - and stopped him from potentially taking his own life.

Collins Obeng, 37, tried to commit suicide on two separate occasions after witnessing 15 members of his platoon die while on tour in Afghanistan.

Mr Obeng, known to many as Obi, also said he struggled with survivors' guilt over the incident and convinced himself he could have done more to save his best friends who were killed in the attacks in 2009, reports HullLive .

The combination of complex feelings led Obi down a dark path of drink and despair in 2017, admitting that he didn't give a 'hoot' about anything.

"When I came back, according to my wife, I was a different being. I didn't care what I was doing. I was by myself. I would avoid everyone. I would just drink and stay in my bed," he said.

Collins Obeng left the army and suffered from PTSD
 

"I was really poorly to be honest. I was going through all sorts. I was really at the point where thought there was no point living.

"I have had my issues with drinking every now and again.

"I think in 2017 when one of my veteran friends committed suicide, that was the third person from my platoon to have done that. When I went to his funeral it was a big blow for me."

Months of struggle ensued until, in December 2018, Hull rallied to his side when he could not afford Christmas presents for his children, Angela, six, and Isabelle, three.

A veterans' charity has supported him and got him back into work
 

Teresa Hodgson, of Project Nova, said: "I don't think he would have survived Christmas because he said he couldn't even have provided for his kids. 

"He probably wouldn't have been sat here now."

After finally seeking help through Teresa, who works with ex-armed forces personnel who have run into trouble with the law, his life has been transformed.

Collins says he twice attempted to take his life

After an appeal less than a week before Christmas last year, the city came to his aid when he needed it the most.

The "phenomenal" response included more than £1,000 of vouchers and masses of presents that were bundled into the back of a police riot van and delivered to the shocked family on Christmas Eve. The gifts had all been collected in less than 72 hours.

Humberside Police  stepped in to pay for their family meal and their counterparts in Cheshire even arrived with more gifts.

Collins is now back in employment

But now, for the first time, Obi has found the strength to thank the people of Hull, and the wider community, for what they did for him and his family.

"I don't know how to put it. It was emotional plus exciting. The last time a police van came here was when I'd had an incident so when a whole riot van came here, my neighbours saw it and said they thought I was in trouble," he said.

"Up to now, it's the best Christmas ever. Literally it is. At that particular moment I couldn't afford anything.

"They had so many gifts.

"It meant so much to the point where I felt there is help out there.

"Compared to last year I'm in the best place I could be."

Not only is Obi on the long road to recovery but he is now back in employment and putting his skills to good use as a security guard at  Morrisons.

  

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He hopes that telling his story will help others who find themselves in similar positions to access the help they need.

He said: "There is help. Don't ever give up hope because you never know how significant these organisations are until you've organised them.

"A lot of veterans, including myself, we don't feel like opening up, especially the men. We think we're too tough, proud, been there and done that.

"Once you voice it out, there is unimaginable support for veterans that we don't even explore.

"Through Teresa and Project Nova I know I'm not alone. I'm not proud of it and I'm not boasting but she kept me alive.

"It's the best moment of my life. That's why I want to raise awareness."

With that in mind, Obi is organising a special walk to raise vital funds for Walking with the Wounded - a charity which supports injured ex-service personnel.

The walk will get start from the car park of the Country Park Inn at Hessle at noon on Saturday, December 14.

It will then wind its way towards  Hull city centre  before ending at the cenotaph.

Everyone is welcome and anyone who would like to donate can do so by clicking  here .