THE MEMORY of a Rwanda kidnap victim who refused support still haunts former army chaplain Frank Parkinson.

The retired padre, who has spent a lifetime helping people recover from traumatic events, said that the charity worker had been taken hostage along with six colleagues.

Frank, an army chaplain of 35 years, was charged with debriefing the group when they returned home after their ordeal.

But one member of the hostage group, who was in charge of the charity party, refused to engage with the group counselling session – crossing his arms and saying that the experience of being taken hostage had not affected him.

“That’s the only time in 35 odd years it’s happened,” said Frank. “He spoiled the whole thing for everybody.”

Frank Parkinson, who has recently published his fifth book on trauma, spoke before an enrapt audience at Swindon Central Library on Wednesday evening.

Blessed with a gently wicked sense of humour, he often had the audience giggling as he shared insights on post-traumatic stress disorder, gleaned from a career spent supporting servicemen, diplomats, charity workers and others who had come through life-changing events.

They included a bank worker, saddled with a dreadful guilt that he had not fought an armed robber.

But Frank convinced the man, described as a “Mini Schwarzenegger” who had “muscles in his spit”, that there was little he could have done against a robber whose fingers were curled around a shotgun trigger.

“It was like a miracle for him,” he said. “He saw if he’d done that he could be dead.”

Frank Parkinson’s new book is A Short Journey into Trauma. It is available from Amazon, RRP £17.52.