Tonight sees former Royal Marine and Help for Heroes beneficiary present a new series, Flying to the Ends of the Earth on Channel 4 at 8pm.
Arthur Williams became one of the earliest members of Help for Heroes Band of Brothers, and was integral in helping the charity understand the needs of the wounded, injured and sick.
In February 2007, Marine Arthur Williams was a passenger in his girlfriend’s car when it hit the kerb, rolled down a steep embankment and overturned.
Remaining conscious, Arthur reached for the steering wheel to right himself. Amid the stench of petrol and in extraordinary pain, Arthur realised that he couldn’t feel his legs. The emergency services cut Arthur from the car and rushed him to Worcestershire Royal Hospital where he spent the next three days in intensive care.
Arthur had severed his spine and crushed three vertebrae. He was airlifted to a specialist spinal unit at Oswestry Orthopaedic Hospital where he spent the next six weeks strapped to a bed. As a Marine used to daily exercise, this was the longest six weeks of his life. He said: “Disabled isn’t a word that features in any Marine’s vocabulary.”
Whilst Arthur’s rehabilitation continued at DMRC Headley Court, his competitive Marine spirit remained intact and, in 2009, two years after his injury, he won the Birmingham Half Marathon Wheelchair race. In partnership with the disabled flying scheme, Aerobility, H4H subsidised a pilot training course for Arthur and through the charity’s Sports Recovery programme, he also visited a Wounded Warriors camp in San Diego and the Vancouver Winter Paralympics showing him the inspirational world of Paralympian sport.
Arthur takes comfort in knowing that help is a phone call away. “Life is tough enough for everybody, let alone those living with a disability, but Help for Heroes takes a huge weight off my mind.”
You might also recognise Arthur as one of the faces of Channel 4’s 2012 Paralympics coverage.
Flying to the Ends of the Earth starts Monday at 8pm. In this epic new series, pilot and former Royal Marine Arthur Williams will fly us into some of the remotest parts of our planet to find out how people survive and thrive in places only the plane can reach.