Among the soldiers and their families who have been assisted by the Trust:
- Cpl Brian Budd VC
- Cpl Mark Wright GC
- Corporal Terry Byrne
- Sgt Paddy Caldwell
- Cpls Stu Hale & Stu Pearson
- L Cpl John Dippnall 3 PARA
Cpl Budd was serving with 3 PARA when he was awarded his VC for two exceptional acts of valour in July and August 2006. Sadly it was during the second incident that he was killed whilst making a lone attack on an enemy that had already wounded himself and three of his comrades, pinning down the remainder of his section. His initiative allowed the remainder of his platoon to reorganise and push forward their attack successfully.
› View further information about Cpl Budd
The Trust was able to provide assistance to his widow and two very young daughters.
Cpl Mark Wright was posthumously awarded the George Cross in September 2006. Whilst on the Kajaki Dam feature he witnessed the leader of a sniper patrol initiate mine as he was negotiating a steep slope below the feature. Cpl Wright took immediate action to recover the injured man but in the process of organising medical treatment, evacuation and clearance of a lane to a helicopter landing site, he and 5 others were wounded by 2 other mines. Despite his wounds Cpl Wright continued to command and organise the incident; giving encouragement to all in a very difficult situation that lasted over 4 hours, sadly Cpl Wright died of his wounds in the evacuation helicopter.
Cpl Mark Wright GC was the only son of Bobby and Jem and also left a devoted partner, Gillian. Bobby and Jem, supported by the Trust, have set up The Mark Wright Project in Midlothian, dedicated to helping ex-Service men and women, and their families overcome the visible and invisible wounds of war and conflict.
Terry Byrne lost his right leg below the knee whilst leading his section in Afghanistan in 2008. Having been treated by doctors at Selly Oak Hospital he was transferred to Headley Court where he quickly adapted to his prosthesis. Whilst he was there he attended a disabled sport assessment programme and it was evident that he had the aptitude for competitive cycling.
Some eighteen months later he was part of a sprint relay team that broke the world record and he is now training at the Manchester Velodrome together with the British National team led by Sir Chris Hoy and is a medal prospect for the World Championships later this year. Earlier this year the Trust assisted in the purchase of a new competition bike which should shave seconds off his existing record.
Sgt Paddy Caldwell was mortar platoon sergeant directing fire close to his own position in Sangin when he was hit in the neck by an Afghan insurgent bullet. It was immediately identified as a serious injury and as a result despite treatment he had become a tetraplegic, confined to an electric wheelchair and requiring full time care.
Paddy has benefitted from assistance from the Trust who provided the funding for a specialist Motability vehicle and various other support to assist with his recovery. Paddy is now employed in 3 PARA Welfare office. In October 2010, Paddy made his first steps unaided since being wounded four years previously.
Stu Hale was a sniper operating from Kajaki Dam in June 2006 when he walked into an unmarked minefield whilst moving to a forward position and lost his right leg. After treatment at Selly Oak and Headley Court he returned to duty with the battalion.
As section commander, Stu Pearson was also involved in the same incident when he lost his left leg above the knee and seriously injured his right leg, which thankfully was saved from amputation by the surgeons in Selly Oak. After about 7 weeks undergoing therapy and further operations to his remaining leg, he was transferred to Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre.
During this time he got learned to use his 1st prosthetic leg and remained there until June 2007 before returning to work in 3 PARA, initially as PRI Manager and later as a Sergeant in the Motor Transport Platoon to head up the Driver Training.
Both Cpl Stu Hale and Stu Pearson benefited from support from the Trust including funding of deposits for Motability.
Whilst serving on patrol whilst attached to 2 PARA in Afghanistan in 2008, John Dippnall was severely wounded by a bullet that entered his chest, passed through his torso and lodged in his spine, in the process damaging many of his major organs. Despite having a number of cardiac arrests during his evacuation and losing a lung, spleen and a kidney he has made a remarkable recovery.
However it became obvious he would never be able to deploy operationally again and the decision was made to accept discharge from the Army.
As a result he chose to retrain as an electrician and with the help of the Trust he was able to qualify on various courses that enabled him to get into meaningful employment. John has just been accepted by the Environment Agency to work on Essex flood defences, starting in December 2010.