Inspirational Derbyshire mum spurs ex-Grenadier Guards soldier battling PTSD to launch clothing brand

A former soldier who has battled PTSD for seven years is setting his sights on a new mission.

By Gay Bolton
Monday, 20th December 2021, 2:51 pm

John Parker has launched a clothing brand which is inspired by his mum and driven by a desire to bring people together.

Promoting his new company, which is called Ourdentity, John said in an online video that his mum was working in a textile business 20 years ago when it went bust. "She saw the silver lining around a cloud that was over us and offered up some money to the person who owned the factory to buy the machines," he commented. "When she bought the machines, she set up as a one-woman operation and that has always inspired me. She built up from strength to strength, through hard work, diligence and pure effort."

Clothing made at his mum Dorothy's business, Judge Textile Cutting Company Ltd, in Pinxton, features in the Ourdentity collection of T-shirts, hoodies, hats and caps.

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John Parker with his mum Dorothy Judge who is his inspiration for a new clothing business.

John, of Nottingham Road, Somercotes, said: "I've got a range that's all colours of the LGBTQ flag that is designed to highlight sexual and gender inequality, a black and white range and a grey range.

"Ultimately I want Ourdentity to be something that when people are on their darkest day and feel like they can't talk to anyone they can see someone else wearing that brand and know that people value what they are and that they are not on their own.”

In his younger years, John, 33, worked in Sierra Leone training SWAT teams and police for a UN peace-keeping mission to Mali. He said: "There's a divide between Christian and Muslim.....but before the police did anything, all of them together would say a Christian prayer and a Muslim prayer and I found that touching for somewhere that some people would consider uncivilised. You wouldn't catch a lot of people in the West doing that. Seeing the divides in various places got me thinking how can I start getting people to see past perceived barriers?

"The word Ourdentity sprang up, I trademarked the name and thought let's try and unite people through it."

A hoodie from the Ourdentity clothing brand.

Dad of one John's job in Africa was his first employment since leaving the Army after he slipped three discs while taking a wrong step. He said: "It was the wear and tear of carrying weapons."

In his nine years serving in the Grenadier Guards regiment John had two tours to Afghanistan. At just 18 he was involved in the Hellick VI operation in the war-torn country where several comrades were killed or seriously injured. He said: "We lost five guys out of the company. Some of the guys lost legs."

Like many servicemen John was mentally scarred by his experiences in the battlefield. He said: "A lot of people have survivor's guilt and see no point to their existence any more. They feel unworthy of life and suffer a lot of depression. It's complex PTSD. "

John has undergone counselling and taken medication to combat his demons. He said: "I'm now a lot calmer and less confrontational.”

John Parker worked in west Africa training SWAT teams and police for a US peace-keeping mission to Mali.

His life as a soldier in a war zone has been charted in 30 poems which he hopes to publish. John said: "Modern military poetry doesn't have its own book, it's all World War Two and World War One poetry."