David Lynch, James McCartney, Tim Burgess and others from the entertainment world joined British war veterans at the Transforming Lives From Within Gala in London on 24th November to support the UK launch of the David Lynch Foundation UK and its Operation Warrior Wellness programme, which helps war veterans to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder.
Singer and songwriter James McCartney opened the gala with an impressive performance, bringing to the UK the solid support he and his father Paul McCartney have given the David Lynch Foundation in recent years. In New York in 2009 the two remaining Beatles, Paul and Ringo, reunited for the first time on an American stage for decades in support of the David Lynch Foundation, and it was at a small DLF concert in Iowa that James made his public musical debut that same year, after a decade of playing incognito in bands.
James McCartney performing at the gala:"I wish the Foundation continued success in spreading its good work & the power of TM”
James McCartney spoke of his delight (in a statement) at playing at another David Lynch Foundation event, and the importance of the Transforming Lives From Within Gala gig for him, “The significance this time round is that it’s in my home town of London… I am pleased to learn that the David Lynch Foundation has expanded into Europe & enrolled as a UK registered charity. I wish everyone involved continued success in spreading the good work of the Foundation & the power of Transcendental Meditation – Health & Happiness to all.”
Next, David Lynch joined the gala by video link to speak of the charity's goals. The iconic movie director established the Foundation in 2005 to fund the teaching of Transcendental Meditation (TM) to schoolchildren and students worldwide. He spoke of how the charity had already enabled over 200,000 individuals to learn stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation and how the charity's scope had successfully extended to programmes for war veterans with PTSD, the homeless, prisoners and for other at-risk groups.
He also presented Tim Burgess of the band The Charlatans with a 'David Lynch Foundation Peace Award' via live video link
in honour of Tim's innovative fund-raising work for the charity. This has included contributing music to the Transcendental Music label (a non-profit label directing proceeds to the DLF) and, most recently, creating his own coffee brand, Tim Peaks, which he launched in November.
Tim Burgess receives David Lynch Foundation Peace Award from David Lynch 'through the web cam' via live video link, with Dr Peter Warburton.
In thanking the charity, Tim Burgess said (in a statement), "The David Lynch Foundation is something that's so close to my heart, and being able to contribute to their work has been an absolute pleasure for me. Practising TM has given a whole new aspect to my life, and to know that contributing time and ideas to the DLF is benefiting people who need our help means such a lot."
The focus of the evening then moved to the DLF’s Operation Warrior Wellness programme, which has successfully helped thousands of Gulf and Afghanistan war veterans, active servicemen and their families in the USA to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through the teaching of Transcendental Meditation.
Two British ex-servicemen spoke about how post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had blighted their lives and how learning Transcendental Meditation had brought about significant relief and recovery.
Former army Commando Gunner, Steve Bindon, a Falklands veteran, was isolated and traumatised for decades before learning TM last year. At the gala he described the events in 1982 which caused his trauma, including experiences during the Battle of Goose Green.
“PTSD started to affect me straight away after the events that caused it in 1982, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I was diagnosed…
“When I learnt TM it was like somebody turned on the light – really… Now, I am for the first time in 30 years able to find my true self again and live the life I was destined to but never had the chance.”
An original painting by Steve was amongst items auctioned at the gala.
Former British Army servicemen Leighton Stagg, left, and Steve Bindon with David Lynch by live video link
Leighton Stagg was discharged from the army in 2009 after 5 years as an infantry soldier because he was unable to function owing to traumatic stress. For several years he suffered, and tried counselling, CBT and various other approaches which only helped to a certain extent.
In 2011 he learnt TM. “That was the best decision I ever made. In the last 13 of 14 months I've come off all of my medication and I haven't had the need for any other approaches.
"I've regained something within myself that I hadn't felt, in all honesty, since I was 18 years old… The deep rest and relaxation it has given me has been unique. I really feel it has allowed my body and my mind to heal from the trauma.”
Operation Warrior Wellness was launched in the USA in 2010, and has since received the support of leading military and veterans organisations, including the US Government's Department of Veteran Affairs (which is funding two major studies on Transcendental Meditation and PTSD). High profile supporters include Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey, and Russell Brand.
David Lynch praised the forces veterans “who have done so much for their country; yet they come home from battles and have to suffer in silence. They’re afraid to say, and they’re not encouraged to say, and yet their lives are pure hell.” “When soldiers get this simple, effortless technique [Transcendental Meditation],” he added, “They get their lives back. It saves lives; not only the soldiers lives, but the families who are suffering too."
The gala featured an auction with items donated by celebrities and artists, including various special edition prints of David Lynch’s own Twin Peaks-themed artwork, each signed by Lynch, and artwork by Santha Faiia and war veteran Steve Bindon.
Further items are available by silent auction from 29th November at the Charity Buzz site, including a DJ lesson with Radio 1’s Rob da Bank and, from Tim Burgess, 2 VIP tickets to the Isle of Wight Festival and a shift working at the coolest coffee shop on earth – Tim Peaks Diner! Artwork, including items from Pauline Amos, Gilbert & George and Francis Knight, will also soon be available for silent auction at Paddle 8.