Happy new start for war hero Dave Watson
War veteran Dave Watson, 30, is making a new life, close to the hospital which has transformed him since his terrible injuries in Afghanistan.
The former Guardsman has now got a job acting as an advocate for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham’s Fisher House project.
It provides a home away from home for injured servicemen and their families as they undergo expert care at the world famous centre for treating military injuries.
Dave left his home in Wordsworth Place, Walton-le-Dale when he found out his then girlfriend Rebecca, a nurse, was pregnant.
Now they are married with a two year old daughter Erin Rose and stepson Joshua Phipps, 12.
Dave has his sights set on taking part in the Invictus Games next September in Toronto and is currently in training with discus, shot put and javelin, as well as taking part in coarse fishing competitions for which he has own sponsorship from angling equipment maker Maver.
Dave, originally from Bamber Bridge, said: “I was still in Preston and dating Rebecca when we found out she was pregnant so it just made sense to move down there.
“I am now working for the Queen Elizabeth Hospitals Charitable Trust as an advocate for the military side and for Fisher House.
“It is a wonderful place doing really great work.
“When I moved down I went to see some of the people there who I had not seen for a few years and just got talking to the families of some of the injured servicemen. I just told them about how much better my life was now and gave a bit of encouragement.
“Mike Hammond, Chief Executive at QEHB Charity which runs Fisher House, saw me and what I was doing and eventually offered me a job.
“It’s absolutely fantastic and I love it. It is giving something back to all those who helped me.
“It is very rewarding helping other people.
“I count my blessings. I am married , have kids to run around after and am enjoying my fishing.
“I am in training at the moment for a trial in April to get in the Invictus Games in Toronto.
“I am currently first in my class in Britain in the discus and shot put and second in the javelin. It is something I have always been interested in.”
Dave lost both legs and his right arm when he stepped on a hidden bomb while on patrol with the 1st Battalion Scots Guards in May 2010.
“As soon as I could when I was recovering after getting injured I asked, ‘What can I do?’
“Discus, shot and javelin were the things I wanted to do. It got to the stage that my personal trainer could not teach me any more and I had to move on to a different coach.
“I am just enjoying being a family man and I would not change anything for the world. I come back to Bamber Bridge to see my grandparents and my parents once a month or so.”
Dave was back in the area this month to help at the official opening of BAE Systems’ new apprentice training academy at Samlesbury. BAE Systems sponsors the hospital in Birmingham and its apprentices have designed several pieces of equipment to help injured servicemen while undergoing treatment in the hospital.