Gareth's (or 'Gaz' as he is known to his friends), career as a vehicle specialist in the Royal Logistic Corps ended less than a year after it had begun when he lost a leg following a car accident while driving back to barracks in Wiltshire.
In 2002 a hit and run left him having to drag his battered body out of a blazing car. As well as having to come to terms with his injuries, he became very introspective. Introduced to wheelchair basketball through the Newcastle Eagles coach Adam Parry at the Help for Heroes’ run Recovery Centre at Catterick Garrison, Gaz was given the support he needed to improve his quality of life.
“Adam runs wheelchair basketball sessions for the Centre and invited me to join in. Since then, Help for Heroes has roped me into all sorts,” said the father of two young daughters.
“I have also started doing archery again, which I used to do when I was younger, even swimming, and my wife Denise says she has seen a real change in me – I am no longer withdrawn and am much happier.”
Help for Heroes also helped Gaz with a funding application for a special wheelchair to use when playing basketball.
Gaz wanted to do something in return for the help from the Help for Heroes run Recovery Centres. Originally from Teesside but now living in Spennymoor, where the whole family has received huge support from the local community, he took part in a 423 mile cycle ride from Edinburgh to London, using a handbike.