Army veteran Kieran Wood from Whittingham named Help for Heroes’ Players’ Player by Prince Charles at Highland Games

An army veteran, who was unable to walk and talk after a life changing accident, has now been presented with a top award by royalty after competing in a Highland Games.

Kieran Wood with Tom OBrien from Accrington, who competed in strongman events including lifting 118kg Atlas Stone, at the Highland Games
Kieran Wood with Tom OBrien from Accrington, who competed in strongman events including lifting 118kg Atlas Stone, at the Highland Games

Kieran Wood, 31, who is from Whittingham near Preston, was named Help for Heroes’ Players’ Player by its Chieftain Prince Charles at The Mey Games in John O’Groats.

The future King gave Kieran, who competes in archery using his mouth, the royal seal of approval after he fought back following his car accident, learning to walk and talk again - ultimately competing in the Highland Games.

“I was very surprised to receive this award but I’m proud to show my trophy to my family and share it with them,” said Kieran.

Prince Harry puts Kieran Wood in the picture as the Lancashire archer competes at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto

“I’ve really enjoyed the Mey Games and I’m going to carry on training to improve for next year.”

From struggling to swing the hammer around his head during his first training session, Kieran threw it 27ft when it mattered in the tournament.

He also took part in throwing the shot put at the Mey Games and won a Gold in archery at the Invictus Games in London.

Kieran had just returned home from his first tour in Iraq with the Duke of Lancaster Regiment when he was involved in the car crash.

Kieran Wood

It was in 2007, Kieran was only 19 but the accident left him with a brain injury and muscle weakness in the right-hand side of his body.

Kieran’s support worker and personal assistant Sean Blane, 38, said: “He had had a meal at his mums then he went out with his friends and had a life changing car accident.

“He had a brain injury so he had to go through a long recovery - in fact it’s a lifelong recovery.

“He couldn’t talk, he was in rehab for a year.

"They taught him how to walk and talk again then he’s just progressed and progressed from being in a wheelchair to using his legs again to talking again.

"He does struggle with his speech, it’s his biggest frustration.

“He’s taken up archery, cycling and indoor climbing. Competing in the Highland Games was massive.”

Sean continued: “You can adapt and still achieve and that’s why Kieran was presented with the team award. Other team members all voted for him.

“He’s got a bike which he lies down on. With archery he shoots with his mouth. With climbing he only uses one arm to climb but he still does it and he also does hammer throwing.

“The other servicemen with similar injuries showed him techniques so he’s been able to overcome things. Through going up to Scotland and spending time with these guys he’s gained new friends and now they want to set up training camps.

“When we were talking afterwards Kieran kept saying, “surprise surprise”, he was thinking he didn’t throw farthest. He was made up to show his family and his friends.

“I said to him with all of this other people will see what they can achieve.”

Commenting on taking part in a tug-of-war, presided over by the Prince of Wales, Sean said he “was a right laugh, very witty.”