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Injured veteran installation comes to Saltash

Injured veteran installation comes to Saltash

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:01am 7th December 2019. (Updated at 11:26am 7th December 2019)

It has been revealed that the number of medically discharged personnel across the country could populate a Cornish town twice over.

Almost 40,000 men and women have had to leave the military in the past 20 years due to injury and illness. That is more than twice the amount of people that live in Saltash.

Over 25% of these have been since the end of the war in Afghanistan, despite the British Armed Forces not being engaged in active conflict during this period.

Help for Heroes says the number of service personnel whose lives have been derailed by injury grows every day.

Now the figure is going to be represented by a model installation in town, as the charity calls for an independent review of the Armed Forces medical discharge process.

Saltash veteran installation
Help for Heroes ‘40,000 Strong’ installation is coming to Saltash to represent the number of personnel discharged from the Armed Forces through injury or illness

Army veteran Nick Thomas, from Saltash, served in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, having joined up as a boy in 1991. 

Just six years later, after tours of Northern Ireland and Bosnia, he was medically discharged due to an arm injury he sustained in service. 

Since then he has suffered from poor mental health and Nick and his family have been supported by Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Plymouth to rebuild their lives.

Nick says he’s backing the ‘40,000 Strong’ campaign to ensure other veterans have the support he didn’t get.

"For me, the campaign gives me a sense of belonging. When I was discharged I was on my own. 

"Since being part of Help for Heroes it brings you together with a group of people who understand what you’ve been through and what you’re going through.

"When you see the 40,000 miniature figures it reflects everybody in society who had to leave a job they loved and felt part of through no fault of their own. 

"It opens your eyes when you see the carpet of green models representing different injuries and illnesses; you realise you’re not alone, you’re one of many."

Nick Thomas, Army veteran from Saltash

Saltash veteran installation
Saltash Army veteran Nick Thomas, pictured with his wife Kerry and daughter Erin, says being a part of Help for Heroes ‘40,000 Strong’ campaign helped him to realise he is not alone

What is happening and when?

On Saturday 7th December, a section of the Help for Heroes’ 40,000 Strong Installation will arrive in Saltash for members of the public to visit and donate to receive their own figure – which will help support wounded Veterans, service personnel and their families for years to come.  

The installation will be on Saltash’s Fore Street between 1-7pm during the Christmas Festival, having made its way from Manchester via other towns and cities – it will then continue on its tour of the country. 

Saltash veteran installation

"Injuries have ended 40,000 military careers in 20 years and every day this number grows. Many of them tell us that their transition impacted significantly on their health, wellbeing and family.

"The medical discharge process is seriously failing those who are let down by major inconsistencies in support, so we’re calling on the Government to commission an independent review of the process to close those gaps. 

"With the public’s support, we’re on a mission to ensure every wounded hero has the best opportunity to stand strong in civilian life."

Mel Waters, CEO of Help for Heroes

In exchange for a donation to fund the ongoing vital work of Help for Heroes, supporters can own one of the model Veterans through the Charity’s website.

To find out more about the gaps in support and how Help for Heroes support those that have been medically discharged visit helpforheroes.org.uk/40thousandstrong/

Help for Heroes offers support throughout the year from its Recovery Centre in Plymouth and community locations across the South West, including at the Blackbrook Leisure Centre, Blackbrook Way, Taunton TA1 2RW every first Wednesday of the month between 10-2pm. 

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