Steve was 19 years old when he was badly wounded in a bomb explosion in Belfast whilst serving with The Royal Anglian Regiment. Despite having two prosthetic limbs, he became an accomplished sportsman with a talent for archery. Our charity helped fund a new ramp in Steve’s bungalow to improve his independent mobility.
Steve grew up in Cosby, Leicestershire and his soldier grandfather inspired him to join the Army. He joined the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (The Poachers), serving in Celle, Germany before deployment to West Belfast in 1989.
On 10 May 1989, Steve was patrolling the Falls Road when a hidden IRA IED exploded nearby. Steve’s right leg was blown off and his wounded left leg was later amputated below the knee; the explosion also caused the loss of his right eye. He spent a couple of years recovering and rehabilitating in various hospitals, including the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital Woolwich.
Steve says: “I’m lucky to be alive and it was touch and go for a while. It was the darkest time of my life; the hardest time for me. I wanted to make the Army my career. To have my future taken away from me was hard, very hard.”
In collaboration with The Royal Anglian Regiment and the limbless veterans’ charity BLESMA, our charity contributed £2,000 towards a new ramp so that Steve could exit his bungalow kitchen area more easily. He says: “Before the adaptation I was like ‘Eddie the Eagle’ getting out of the house. This work has made a massive difference. I have my independence back and it has given me a boost. I see gardening as the way forward, enjoying life in the fresh air, and would like to get a greenhouse.”
Although Steve suffered life-changing injuries at such a young age, he does not see himself as disabled. Despite having two prosthetic limbs, he has excelled in many sports, including archery (he is a member of a GB Paralympic squad), wheelchair basketball as a player and coach, rock climbing and abseiling. He once sailed across the Atlantic to Barbados with an all-amputee crew against able bodied crews in other boats. He also set up a motor racing charity for disabled veterans and civilians.
Steve says: “Life is still tough, there are days when my PTSD kicks in and I don’t feel great. However, there are many worse off than me. Many lads never make it home, we should never forget that. I am lucky to be alive and I have a lot of good things in my life.”