From homelessness to fashion business owner - How Hendon former soldier turned Dreamboy turned his life around
A soldier turned Dreamboy has added entrepreneur to his list of achievements after launching his own clothing company inspired by his time in the Army.
Chris Hunter from Hendon served for almost 20 years with the Coldstream Guards, including tours of duty in Iraq, and 18 months in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban.
After leaving Southmoor School with few qualifications, Chris felt he had finally found his role in life when he joined the Army aged 16.
He went on to receive the Task Force Helmand Commander's commendation for his 'inspirational leadership and calmness under fire'.
But his time in the forces took its toll on the soldier who tragically lost eight of his comrades during his service.
After he left the Army in 2018 Chris developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and adjustment disorder which is a stress-related condition.
He returned home to the North East but felt displaced and even spent time sleeping on Seaham beach during a spell of homelessness.
Chris said: "I struggled when I came out of the Army as it was all I had known since I joined up at 16. It was my life.”
But it was a call to the University of Sunderland that helped to get the 37-year-old back on track.
He signed up for a one year Business Applied Management programme at the university in 2017 and has used the skills he learned to set up his own clothing company, Frontline ind.
“I had got qualifications during my time in the services,” said dad-of-one said.
“I rang up the university and they told me it was enough for me to come and do the programme there.
“It was thanks to the university that I really started looking at the things I could do, at the strategic side of business.”
During this time Chris also auditioned to become a 'Dreamboy' in Newcastle and landed a spot with the prestigious national 'Dreamboys' tour.
Pre-pandemic he was touring the country with the group, but that side of his career is currently on hold until theatres reopen.
On his clothing business, Chris said: “The idea originated from wanting to support those who have been affected by fighting on the frontline and quickly evolved to signify the struggles that everyone faces on a daily basis.”