A FORMER Lieutenant-Colonel from Wylye has won four swimming medals at the Invictus Games UK Trials in Sheffield.

Spencer Bull, 52, was one of 15 armed forces veterans from Wiltshire who trained with the Salisbury charity Help for Heroes for the trials.

Mr Bull was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2005, aged just 38, and medically discharged from The Rifles on December 1 2017 after the condition of the central nervous system got progressively worse.

He said: “I can stand but even that is becoming a challenge. I am unable to walk; my legs and arms are very weak and I get fatigued quickly, which is extremely debilitating.”

Mr Bull competed in Archery and Swimming at the trials, after taking part in the Invictus Games in Sydney in October 2018 where he was vice-captain of the UK squad.

At Sheffield, he finished with a gold medal in the 100 metres freestyle and three silver medals in the 50m freestyle, the 50m breaststroke and the 50m backstroke, but failed to reach the archery final.

He said: "I am extremely pleased with my performance, particularly as I achieved personal bests, and the fact that it was done it front of my family made it even better."

Mr Bull and his wife, Sally-Anne, have three boys: Charlie, 16, Alexander James, 14, who is known as 'AJ', and Tom, 12.

One of the reasons he takes part in the Invictus Games trials is to manage his condition and to enable him to interact with his children and share their interests.

Mr Bull joined the Royal Green Jackets as an infantry officer in 1988. He completed tours in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kuwait before contracting MS and being discharged from The Rifles in Andover.

Up to 350 wounded, injured and sick veterans and service personnel took part in up to nine adaptive sports in a showcase of the power of sport on recovery.

Invictus UK, presented by BAE Systems, delivered the Invictus UK Trials in Sheffield, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. The competition ran from July 22-26, across Sheffield’s top sporting venues and other locations.

Over five days, the competitors, supported by their friends, family and local community, took part in up to nine sports – Archery, Athletics, Cycling, Indoor Rowing, Powerlifting, Sitting Volleyball, Swimming, Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Rugby.

The Invictus UK partnership comprises Help for Heroes, the Ministry of Defence and The Royal British Legion.

Martin Colclough, National Head of Sports Recovery, Help for Heroes, said: “The Invictus UK Trials is a brilliant demonstration of the power of sport and we are here to help every individual exceed their personal recovery goals – be it to take part, set a personal best or take home a medal.

“We’re proud to continue our legacy of delivering outstanding sports recovery to wounded veterans, through Invictus UK.”

All Invictus UK Trials competitors can put themselves forward to become part of Team UK for the Invictus Games in The Hague in The Netherlands in 2020.

Selection in the UK is based on potential recovery benefit, attitude and commitment, as well as performance.

Help for Heroes works with all competitors, regardless of selection, to ensure their recovery journeys continue beyond the Invictus UK Trials.