Kirk Mclaughlin served as a paratrooper in 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) from 2002 to 2014, which included completing operational tours of duty in Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. Kirk was a proud and dedicated soldier, but was medically discharged from the regiment he loved as a result of sustaining a serious parachuting injury and being diagnosed as suffering from PTSD.
Initially struggling to find meaningful employment, as he faced the challenge of dealing with his physical injury and the mental scars of war, Kirk discovered art as a means of rehabilitation and something that gave him a sense of purpose. Kirk’s artistic talents were obvious; he had just been awarded the Armed Forces Art Society Prize for one of his paintings and was on his way to completing a Masters arts degree when he tragically took his own life in November 2017.
The Kirk Mclaughlin Memorial Soldier Artist Award has been set up to honour Kirk’s memory. Money raised will be passed to the charity Style For Soldiers, who will make the award each year and will provide a grant of £1,000 to a promising ex-military artist to support their work. As well as receiving the grant, the winner’s name will be inscribed on a memorial bell that has been commissioned to remember Kirk.