A wounded ex-serviceman, who is supported by Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery programme, has won the Adaptive Athlete of the Year award at the annual Army Sports Awards.
Former-Private, Charlie Walker, was presented with the award at a special prize-giving held at The Guildhall, in London this evening.
The award was presented in recognition of his achievement competing at international level in Sitting Volleyball. As the winner of the award, Charlie now goes forward to the Combined Services Sports Awards held in March next year.
Charlie suffered from Meningitis in 2006 and as a result is now a double below-knee amputee. During London 2012 Charlie made his Paralympic debut, with support from Help for Heroes, and was part of the men’s sitting volleyball team which finished eighth. In 2013 he took part in the Warrior Games, and just this year won three gold medals at the inaugural Invictus Games, where he not only played in the sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball, but he also coached the sitting volleyball team, and captained the wheelchair rugby teams to victory.
There were two further nominees for the Adaptive Athlete of the Year Award, Craftsman Nikki Paterson who serves with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), and Mick Brennan, a former Sergeant - both have been supported by Help for Heroes Sports Recovery from early on in their recovery through to present day and beyond.
Nikki was injured in a road traffic accident which subsequently led to the amputation of her right leg. She was introduced to the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery programme at Headley Court post injury, and has since benefitted in her recovery from attending winter sport training camps, climbing excursions, water skiing training, as well as from vocational training such as the Archery Leader Course and gaining neuro-linguistic programming qualifications.
A significant step in Nikki’s recovery journey was when she was introduced to GB Canoeing, who invited her on an inspiration camp at the World Championships in 2013. She subsequently stepped up to train full-time as part of the GB ParaCanoe team a year ago. Help for Heroes Sports Recovery supported Nikki in the World Para Canoe Championships this year, and have also funded her competition boat, in her quest to Rio 2016.
Mick was injured in a suicide bomb attack in November 2004 while serving in Iraq with the Royal Signals. Hurled 25 feet by the force of the explosion, he lost both legs above the knee and suffered a serious injury to his brain. Post injury Mick took part in various sports via the Help for Heroes funded Battle Back programme, before deciding at the start of 2009 that skiing was the sport for him. This year he qualified for the Great Britain team for the Winter Paralympics in Sochi as a sit-skier, where he finished tenth in the Super-G event.
Help for Heroes has been involved with Sports Recovery for six years, and in the past year alone have put on 300 events across 50 different sports enabling over 1,800 wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in adaptive sports from grassroots through to performance level.
To find out more about Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Programme, and to follow our beneficiaries progress, follow @H4H_SR on Twitter.