Injured Middlesbrough veteran finds new focus with locksmith business

Army veteran Craig Donoghue, who had to leave service after an injury, has started his own business

Help for Heroes Craig Donaghue
Craig Donaghue

A veteran soldier, whose Army career was cut short when a debilitating back injury made it impossible for him to continue in the military, has set up his own business as a locksmith.

Craig Donaghue, a former Green Howards soldier from Middlesbrough, first injured his back in 2003 but carried on serving while able. He underwent a spinal fusion in 2010, followed by three more operations and was then discharged from the Army in February, 2013.

Now Donaghue, who saw action in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Afghanistan, has retrained as a locksmith and set up his own business called Key Commander Locksmiths, covering Teesside and surrounding areas.

The 33-year-old credits the support he received from the Help for Heroes Northern run Recovery Centre, Phoenix House, for getting him to the stage where he was able to think about a new career.

“Before I started coming to Phoenix House in Catterick, I was depressed and taking out my frustrations on the family. Now I am doing so much more, getting out and about and I’m happier because my mood is better,” he said.

He has completed a variety of courses at the centre, including CV writing, computer skills and joined in with Life Skills classes such as cookery and woodwork, which all helped him to prepare for the future.

Mo Usman, Phoenix House centre manager, said Donaghue’s success was a prime example of the centre’s key aims – to inspire, enable and support. “Our role is to help wounded, injured and sick veterans adapt to civilian life and regain their independence,” he added.


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