FORMER Army Lance Corporal Matthew Elliot is ready to compete at the Invictus Games and, thanks to the Royal British Legion, his wife and children will be supporting him all the way.
RBL is co-ordinating travel, accommodation and tickets for around 250 family and friends to ensure that every participant can enjoy the support of their loved ones in Florida.
Matthew has PTSD and also suffers from cartilage damage to both knees. He’ll be taking part in archery, shot-put, discus and rowing in Orlando. His wife Lara and sons Charlie (eight) and Russell (five) will be flying out from their home in the Isle of Man to cheer him on.
The couple met in 2004 after Matthew had just completed his basic training. He served with 23 Pioneer Regiment and left the Army in 2012. Lara had been aware of his PTSD since he returned from Iraq, but it wasn’t until five months after discharge – whilst working as a tree surgeon – that it was formally recognised.
Lara said: “It’s the supporting role that families play and reassurance they provide that’s always there. I’m sure my constant nagging has been a big factor in him doing the Invictus Games – it’s really exciting that he’s involved this year.”
RBL is supporting the UK team as part of its work to recognise the vital and valuable contribution that family and friends make to the recovery of wounded, injured or sick Service personnel and veterans.
Director General Chris Simpkins said: “We are proud to support the UK delegation and we will be encouraging everyone back home to get behind them. We will provide support and pastoral care here in the UK while participants are preparing for the games, and in Orlando during the event itself.”
The Invictus Games begin this Sunday (8 May) until 12 May. Follow @InvictusOrlando on Twitter or go to www.invictusgames2016.org