A Royal Navy veteran who recently had hip replacement surgery will spend this weekend fundraising for the charity he credits for his speedy recovery.
Dave Reynolds, 57 from Estover, will join other volunteers collecting for Help for Heroes at Debenhams in Plymouth City Centre on 11 and 12 March, as part of the department store’s National Collection Weekend.
Former Chief Petty Officer Dave, who served for 25 years, accrued a number of injuries during his last 10 years of service up to his discharge in 2000; the majority of which he puts down to wear and tear.
“Life in the Navy aboard a ship is based around ladders,” explained Dave. “Constantly being in that environment, climbing up and down different levels as well as the fitness requirement of being in service, it all adds up. I left the Navy with osteoarthritis in both knees which then spread to my hips.”
After four years of suffering with severe pain in his hips; at one point believing he would have to give up his post-service 16 year career as Quality Manager at HMS Raleigh; Dave was offered surgery. His right hip was replaced on 8th February, with his left hip due for replacement soon. Despite only having surgery four weeks ago, he is already ahead of the typical six to twelve week recovery period and determined to support Debenhams’ fundraising efforts.
“The pain started as inconvenient but soon became debilitating, to the point I almost had to leave work. I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did without the support of staff at Help for Heroes who offered me physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and a pain management course. I could use specialist gym equipment and actually walk into the pool which has been designed for easy access.
“When I first contacted the Plymouth Recovery Centre 18 months ago, I was a little old bloke stooped over, hardly walking. Now I’ve had the surgery I honestly believe the rate of my recovery is due to being fit and healthy thanks to the guidance I had in looking after my own health and wellbeing in the months before the operation. And they’re still there willing to support me now I’m post-op. I’ve been getting about marvellously since my surgery.”
This is the second year Dave will be collecting for Help for Heroes at Debenhams, with other willing local volunteers, including wife Val. Dave is no stranger to fundraising; he is the Devon Chair of the Royal British Legion Riders Branch.
Dave said: “It’s only right, when the opportunity comes up, to support those who have helped me. This is the easiest way of giving something back and hopefully other people can benefit from the money I raise in the way I have.
“What people don’t realise is that all military charities talk to each other; you’re not just raising money for one charity. You see it at the Recovery Centre on a Friday when a number of representatives from different charities come together to share the responsibility of supporting someone’s recovery.”
And Dave is keen to highlight just how important it is that public support for military charities continues.
“We might not be in the news every day for being maimed or killed but there are still thousands who need support. A lack of understanding has a lot to answer for; I have physical issues, my brother has mental health problems from service; if we can educate about why the support is needed I think that’s the key.”
As well as the National Collection Weekend, Debenhams is supporting Help for Heroes with collection tins and merchandise sales throughout March at stores in England, Wales and Scotland.