Read about some of the men & women who benefit from our support
Corporal Scott Blaney, ex-Grenadier Guards
Motivational speaker, athlete & fundraiser
Scott Blaney joined the Grenadier Guards in 2004, taking part in many royal duties including the Trooping of the Colour in London. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 and 3 months after arriving his section were on foot patrol clearing compounds in Garmsir, Helmand Province, when they were hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), injuring 5 and killing his best friend. Scott suffered severe injuries to his right leg and shrapnel injuries to his arm and eye.
Under RPG and small arms fire, his Drill sergeant acted fast, picked Scott up and ran with him on his shoulder for a mile and half to the helicopter landing site for evacuation. From there he was taken back to Camp Bastion where he had emergency surgery to remove his lower leg. He was then flown to Birmingham hospital where his long journey of recovery began with the support of medical staff and huge amounts of self-resolve.
‘When I woke up in hospital I didn’t feel defeated I just decided that life had to start again. The army teaches to you to improvise, adapt and overcome, and I accepted that I had to move on.’
Scott was in hospital for 8 weeks, and was walking on a special brace after 4. After that he went to Headley Court (the MoD rehabilitation centre) and started taking part in sporting activity as soon as he could– including running, cycling and swimming, He got his prosthetic leg after a year and was successful in getting a grant from the London Marathon to take part in the 2009 event, completing the famous 26 mile course in 7 hours!
Scott has also gone on to swim across the channel, row across the Atlantic, and takes part in regular cycling and golf events, as well as being a motivational speaker – telling his story helps himself and 1000s of others.
He says: ‘my main driver is to raise awareness of the huge physical and mental challenges of our severely injured servicemen and women and the lifelong support they need and deserve. Sport has offered a vital focus in rebuilding my life. The funding Team Army provides for sport has been essential in enabling me to have the opportunities I’ve had. It’s not just about Afghanistan, it’s about people’s whole lives, now and in the future.’
Photo above: Scott taking part in the 2014 Trans-Atlantic ‘Row to Recovery’
Sergeant Mick Brennan Royal Signals
Team GB Athlete – Combined Services Disabled Ski Team
I am incredibly grateful for the funding and support that I have received from my Team Army sponsors. The financial support has enabled me to increase my training schedule and to attend more international qualifying events. In addition to this I have also been fortunate in receiving direct support from several sponsors who collaborated to design and build me a high-tech sit-ski, fine-tuned to my own requirements; this new rig has already enabled me to knock vital milliseconds off my race timings!
Thank you for all the sponsorship support, both financial and physical, which went a long way towards helping me achieve my goal of representing Great Britain at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.’
Captain Heather Stanning Royal Artillery
Team GB Rower – Olympic Gold Medalist
‘I’m hugely grateful for the support the Army has given me over the last two years in order to achieve an Olympic gold medal. The experience was truly life changing but my military life now beckons and I’m excited to be back with my Regiment and training for a deployment to Afghanistan in 2013. I firmly believe that encouraging soldiers to take part in sports will help them to develop their military skills. Participating in sport encourages characteristics that soldiers need on the front line such as dedication, determination, teamwork, endurance and courage. I am delighted to be an Ambassador for Team Army and fully support their aim to raise funds for Army sports with the aim of promoting excellence, increasing opportunity and enabling recuperation and rehabilitation from operations.’
Private Mark Allen, 1 Royal Anglians
Driver & Ambassador – Kartforce
Kart racing team Mark was blown up by an IED whilst on foot patrol in January 2010 in Helmand Province. He was 19 years old.
“I lost both legs above the knee and had bad shrapnel wounds to my face I also lost my little finger on my left hand and my thumb and the top of my index finger on my right hand.” Mark never imagined he’d be able to get into any form of motorsport, so when he tried the karts with hand controls and raced against non-injured drivers, he decided this was a sport he wanted to take up competitively. “Although we’re injured, nothing is holding us back. We’re racing against other drivers on equal terms.” I
n 2013 Mark and his team mates have competed in over 45 races, including three 24hr races – the Daytona 24hr, the Le Mans 24hr and the British 24hr. “I love the buzz that racing gives me. It’s built up my confidence and when I’m behind the wheel it’s a great leveller. I love taking on people on the track and winning.”
Kart racing gives these lads more than just an opportunity to race. It’s had a very positive effect on their self-confidence. Even though Mark is one of the youngest lads in KartForce, he’s been nominated to be the next KartForce Ambassador. He’ll be meeting sponsors and making presentations to audiences keen to hear how he got injured and how motorsport has helped him re-build and re-shape his life.
“I knew a few of the lads involved in racing from before at Headley Court and since joining the team we’ve become great mates. It’s a team sport and we’re all a part of something. It’s not about our injuries… it’s simply about competing on a level playing field – something we’re proving we are great at.”
Founder of KartForce, Dave Player, said, “Mark is one of our top drivers. He’ll soon be progressing to competing in team endurance racing in a Jaguar XF-S – the car that won the 2012 Nurburgring 24hr. None of these opportunities would have been possible if we didn’t have the support of Team Army.”