As part of the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund I have been to many events involving the armed forces and their families but never have I been so humbled and seen such true grit and determination first hand. It was a great pleasure to be invited to their families day and present Nigel with a cheque for £1800 from the Charitable Fund and to spend the day seeing how it all works.
Purple Warriors is a tri service charity that enables anyone that has served or is serving to become part of a family that has a network all over the country. Through Dragon Boat Racing this inspirational group of people have found a true connection to each other. They have overcome their own demons and inner battles to support and inspire others.
After arriving early to help set up it was clear that a ‘muck in’ attitude was needed, from artwork, cleaning and generally just getting on with it. An attitude that is apparent in everyone involved. There was a large number of Royal Artillery within the group and chatting over the old days was a pleasure and it always helps to have a serving soldier along for the ride.
I am not sure if getting Leon in the Dragon Boat quite so early was part of the plan but it wasn’t long before we were both in Purple Warrior t-shirts and Leon was heading out for a training session. My session later in the day with other ‘Newbies’ was lots of fun but I feel that dry ground is where I am most comfortable. I think the fact that I nearly broke Pete’s paddle is a clue to my skill, sorry Pete!
I cannot emphasis enough how humbling it is to see this group of warriors supporting and helping each other with simple tasks like getting in & out of the boat, strapping on a prosthetic for the training and just being there to help them walk after a session. I couldn’t help but also smile at the friendly banter that only people that have served can deliver with such timing.
Purple Warriors deserve all our support and their Motto ‘Inspired By You’ is fitting and obvious for all to see. I had an absolutely fantastic day and hope to return soon and help out as much as I can in the future.
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