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Injured servicemen reach Inverness on fundraising mission

By Andrew Dixon

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Sergeant Colin Hamilton with rider Mick Foulds at Falcon Square
Sergeant Colin Hamilton with rider Mick Foulds at Falcon Square

INVERNESS shoppers took a few moments to pay tribute to a team of fundraisers aiming to generate £1,000,000 to support wounded servicemen and women.

People applauded the group as it stopped off in the Highland Capital at lunchtime as part of the Horses Help Heroes trek from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Provost Jimmy Gray and representatives of the Inverness branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland welcomed the charity to Falcon Square.

Sergeant Colin Hamilton from Inverness was among the team arriving in his home town.

He joined the army in 1993 and after spending seven years with the Royal Highland Fusiliers he transferred to The Black Watch in 2001 as a Warrior fighting vehicle commander/gunner.

Shortly afterwards while on duty in Kosovo he went to the rescue of a colleague who was entangled with a high–voltage electric cable. As a result, Sgt Hamilton’s right leg was so badly damaged that it had to be amputated above the knee.

After treatment he returned to front–line soldiering in 2004 and was deployed on active service in Iraq, taking part in Operation Dogwood when the US forces re–captured Fallujah.

He has recently become the first military recipient of an ITAP — a new form of prosthetic leg, where the prosthetic is attached directly to the bone — enabling him to be much more mobile and active.

In order to take part in the challenge he has learned to ride a horse and drive a carriage to add to his existing skills of skiing, abseiling, quad–biking and rafting, as well as playing volleyball.

A serving soldier with the 3 SCOTS, he will return to regimental duty following the completion of the challenge to drive a horse-drawn World War I ambulance replica, with a team of severely wounded servicemen, all the route in 10 days.

There are four, six hour shifts each day for the drivers, passengers and riders and the horses are alternated on an as-needed basis depending on the terrain and conditions.

A support crew including cars, horse boxes and vets is accompanying them throughout and they hope to reach the finish line tomorrow (29th June).

The team want to raise £1,000,000 to deliver direct, practical support to any wounded member of the armed forces who needs it. Through Help for Heroes, all the funds raised will be distributed to several organisations, who are best placed to provide the precise support that each wounded member of the forces requires.

* For information on how to donate visit the Horses Help Heroes website.

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