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A Royal Artillery veteran we supported, to enable him to take up golf, has landed the 2021 Battle Back Golf Championship – and credited the sport with saving his marriage.

Alan Izzard, 50, from Warrington, served for 13 years, seeing active tours of Iraq, Bosnia, Cyprus, and the Gulf. He retired from the military with an exemplary discharge and initially found meaningful work back on ‘Civvy Street’.

But, two years later, the hidden effects of Alan’s tours began to surface, threatening to destroy his life – and he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

He recalled: “It had a massive impact on my family and friends, especially my children. My friends tried to help me, but I pushed some away, while the others just didn’t know how to handle my situation. It left me very isolated.”

A;an woith his golf clubs and trophy! - Help for Heroes

Shutting himself inside and not wanting to leave the house, Alan couldn’t see a way out. But golf proved a turning point in his recovery. He was invited to take part in a round while receiving support from a community outreach officer. And, encouraged by the positives that playing the sport had brought him, in 2017, he contacted us and we gave him a grant to buy his own golf clubs.

The 11-handicapper said: “I got my confidence back. My wife said I was more like the person I used to be. I’m making real progress.

“Playing golf has helped me both physically and mentally and has probably saved my marriage. Having the equipment gives me time to work on not only my golf game but my own personal mental well-being. Having to work on my concentration by just hitting a little white ball was tough at the beginning, but persistence has been rewarded.

“As I got more into golf and started playing full rounds it meant I was having six hours out of the house, when my wife could have time to herself.

“Since then, the equipment has helped me cope with the tough times of COVID-19 and it all culminated in me winning the 2021 BBG Championship – still with the same equipment.”

In 2019, he was selected for the DoD Warrior Games and used the very same equipment to win a bronze medal – the first medal for Team UK at the games.

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