Trowbridge teen’s charity challenge
John Phillips and Poppy Foss set up a stall for BLESMA, the charity which has helped his father Andy
Wiltshire College student John Phillips is determined to help raise money and awareness for the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association, in gratitude for the help it has given his own family.
John, who studies professional catering at the Trow-bridge campus, will be taking on a hiking expedition in the Lake District in July which will see him attempting to climb 20 peaks.
The 17-year-old decided to raise money for the BLESMA charity after how it helped his dad Andy Phillips, who was an RAF armourer until being medically discharged in 1993 after suffering a spinal cord injury.
He was serving in the 1st Gulf War in Saudi Arabia, when he suffered a prolapsed disk which caused so much nerve damage he was left in a wheelchair.
As well as the hiking challenge, Mr Phillips raised money at a stall selling BLESMA merchandise at the Wiltshire Armed Forces and Veterans Weekend.
John, who lives in Hilperton, said: “I believe so strongly in what they do and spend the money on.
“I have seen how much time they give everyone who comes to them.
“It’s important to raise awareness as I don’t think enough people know about the charity and the fantastic work they do to help those who have been injured in the service.
“I have been on training weekends with the charity and been up to their rehabilitation home in Blackpool, and they have helped me and dad do a lot of activities together, so the more awareness I can raise the better.
“I’m aiming to raise £2,500 for the charity through the stall at the Armed Forces Weekend and the charity hike.
“I have done some hiking in the Lake District before, but nothing like this, so it will be a challenge.”
His father, who has been a war pensioner since his injury, works with BLESMA and the British Ex-Services Wheelchair Sports Associa-tion, or BEWSA, which has enabled him to represent Great Britain in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
He is also training to take part in the Invictus Games, an international competition for injured, wounded and sick servicemen and women in London in September.