HELPING TEAM UK TO VICTORY
As the Official Fundraising Partner of Invictus UK we are very proud to pledge our support to Team UK competitors from across the country who will participate in a range of sporting activities, from training camps, that help wounded Veterans and Serving personnel prepare for July’s Invictus UK Trials in Sheffield, through to the Invictus Games The Hague 2020.
The Invictus UK Trials which are being held in Sheffield from 22-26 July this year will be the largest gathering of UK military wounded adaptive sport competitors. The event will include archery, athletics, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling on a closed road circuit, swimming, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby at world-class venues in Sheffield.
The Invictus Games uses the power of sport to help rehabilitate and inspire thousands recovering from physical and mental injuries and to generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country. In short, it serves to rebuild lives, family and community.
The games have grown from the initial concept created by the Duke of Sussex which took place in London in 2014, into huge international events involving military personnel and veterans from 18 nations. It is the only international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick (WIS) servicemen and women, both serving and veteran, and has become the most iconic symbol of sporting endeavour.
Invictus UK is a partnership of the Ministry of Defence, Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion and is responsible for selecting and preparing Team UK for both the Invictus UK Trials in Sheffield 2019 and the Invictus Games The Hague 2020.
“We are delighted to welcome Team Ethos as our official fundraising partner. Team Ethos has proven to be a powerful force for good over recent years in helping to fund sport, challenge and adventure in the Armed Forces in an ethical and compliant manner. In particular, they have supported many groups that use the power of sport to assist rehabilitation and enhance the recovery journey for WIS service personnel and veterans. Their track record makes them an ideal partner.”
Rear Admiral Jim Macleod, Head of Invictus UK
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Below are some of the competitors who served their country
by representing Team UK at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018
In 2009 while serving in Afghanistan, Michael was injured by an Improvised Explosive Device resulting in the loss of both legs above the knee. Then 19 and serving with 3 Rifles, he also suffered shrapnel wounds to his arms.
Following rehabilitation at Headley Court Michael’s focus shifted to challenging himself through sport. He discovered a passion for handcycling and received £5,500 in grant-funding from Help for Heroes for specialist kit.
In 2017 he was selected as part of the team taking on one of the world’s toughest endurance cycling events, the epic Race Across America (RAAM). The team passed through 12 states, covering over 3,081 miles and climbing in excess of 170,000 feet before finishing in Annapolis, Maryland.
In 2018 Michael was selected to represent Team UK at the Invictus Games in Sydney where he gained two gold medals in cycling.
“It feels like it was, back in the Army,” said Michael, “supporting one another. We’ve all got strengths and weaknesses and the Invictus Games gives a great opportunity to work on them.”
Spencer served as an officer for 29 years in the Army where he completed several tours of Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kuwait. Tragedy struck in 2005 when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and by 2011 Spencer was struggling to walk. Spencer has suffered degeneration in the last few years and was medically discharged in 2017.
The former Lieutenant Colonel credits sport for making a positive effect on his life: “It gives me the chance to manage my condition and make my children proud of what their father has achieved. I want to ‘inspire’ them.”
Joint Vice-Captain of the Sydney 2018 UK Invictus team, Spencer is passionate about what the Games represent “I don’t think we should focus on medals. That’s not what it is all about. You work at your personal best and if you achieve that, it is fantastic. If there had been a theme at the Games, it was very much friends and family – a way of saying thank you.”
Spencer adds: “The Games are all about overcoming adversity. It is about normal people doing extraordinary things.”
In 2003 Kelly Ganfield was serving as a young Army Corporal when she was diagnosed with a blood disorder that triggered a series of strokes, eventually leading to medical discharge from Service. She spent the next 10 years learning how to live with the repercussions of her brain injury and in 2014 Kelly approached Help for Heroes for support.
Within months Kelly was taking part in things she never thought possible and was selected to represent the UK in Toronto in 2017. In 2018 Kelly joined Team UK to compete in Sydney where she achieved a silver medal in the 4 x 100m relay and completed the 100m and 200m with guide runner Mikail Huggins, as well as competing in the long jump and indoor rowing.
“It is an honour to be part of this process and to have represented my country again. My recovery journey is focused around finding a new identity and confidence, accepting my disabilities, inspiring others, and moving forward. I lost my career, but I have found something beneficial to fill that void.”
Former Leading Hand Nick Martin served in the Royal Navy until 1986. Nick joined the Royal Navy as a stores accountant in 1977, while most of his life at sea was onboard survey ships he saw action in the Falklands Campaign.
“I’ve allowed my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to control the way that I have led my life over many years. I now see life as a blessing not a burden. I am ready to live a productive, healthy life again!”
Nick’s PTSD had a huge effect on his day-to-day life. The charity support Nick has received gave him the confidence to apply for the 2018 Invictus Games. Competing in the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney helped Nick’s physical and mental wellbeing and gave him a new purpose in life.
“I smashed two personal bests and qualified for the road cycling final. I never ever thought I’d do anything like that. The feeling of self-worth that I am part of an organisation that helps others and helps me is just brilliant.”