Neil Heritage, 30, was injured in November 2004 in Iraq when he was clearing a route for IEDs and a suicide bomber got through the cordon and detonated. Neil, a Corporal in the Royal Signals, had to have both of his legs amputated above the knee and was told he would probably never walk again.
Once he was medically discharged, Neil was no longer under MOD prosthetics care and moved into the NHS system. After a year, due to funding problems, the NHS was unable to provide Neil with suitable prosthetic legs.
H4H has supported Neil since its inception in 2007 and he has nothing but praise for the Charity and those who have supported it: 'The H4H team have been keen to find out about any problems or difficulties myself and my family have faced since my injuries and are looking at ways to solve these problems for me and other Servicemen and women further down the line.'
When Neil first got involved with Help for Heroes through the H4H Band of Brothers (a group of wounded personnel who act as a support network for each other), he explained some of the problems he was having and Help for Heroes was able to fund new sockets for his prosthetic legs.
These new sockets meant that Neil could be more mobile, do more things with his young children, get back into his running and continue to lead a normal life.
In September 2010, Neil took part in the Help for Heroes Bridge Too Far Bike Ride, on which he rode 350 miles on a hand powered bike from Brussels to Arnhem. Neil said 'Doing the ride was a great experience, meeting people who have given up their time to help and support us gave me a real boost and showed how much the public cared. It was also a big challenge on a hand bike.'
In 2012, Neil completed an epic row across the Atlantic as part of the six man Row2Recovery team. After technical difficulties at sea and a whole host of predictable physical problems, the crew completed their challenge after just 51 days. In his final blog post, Neil wrote:
'If we’ve been able to inspire just one of our wounded friends back in Headley Court or Selly Oak Hospital then it will have been worth it.
'The money we’re raising isn’t going to us on board, it’s going to blokes who are worse injured and facing far tougher futures than we are. There are guys coming back from Afghanistan now who are going to need help, support and care for the rest of their lives and they are the ones we’re doing this for.'
Neil is currently working as a boot camp fitness instructor near his home.