By Humphrey Carter
PALMA

IT all began last year when the Bulletin was approached by Stan Bowles, a former British Army Physical Training Instructor who wanted help and to put out a plea for help to give a 21-year-old Royal Marine who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan a well earned holiday with his girlfriend and her sister.

The response from the British community here on the island was overwhelming and Andy Grant, who is making a steady but excellent recovery from being caught in an improvised explosive device while on patrol with 45 Commando the front line in the Upper Sangin Valley Province and sustaining over 30 potentially life threatening wounds, has since returned to Majorca to thank all those who helped give the young couple a holiday of a lifetime last year.

In fact, so many people came forward to offer help this year at least 21 wounded Afghanistan veterans are going to be coming over to Majorca for a holiday with their partners over the coming months.

Sheila and David have made their finca near Pollensa available and three groups of members of the Light Dragoon Guards, all seriously wounded to varying degrees, will begin coming out to Majorca from, next Tuesday.

All of the 21 Dragoon Guards are now back with their unit at their current Swanton Morely headquarters in Norfolk, but all of them have been through the MOD Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court, where Andy Grant was treated.

Through direct and regular contact with the regiment, the three trips have been well organised by Sheila and Dave although should anyone in the north of the island wish to help or offer their services in any way, it would be appreciated.

Last year, the British community came forward with offers of BBQs, tickets to shops, bars offered free food and drink, Andy Grant was even treated to a day out in a luxury yacht! In fact, so much was offered, is was too much for him during the week.
However, while the groups of the Light Dragoon Guards, two this month and then after the summer, may be more or less sorted the Corps Welfare Warrant Officer, Cliff Johnson, at REME, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, is looking for help to bring some of the regiment's wounded out to Majorca.

Johnson told the Bulletin yesterday that he heard about what had been done for Andy while working as a Welfare Officer at Headley Court last year. He has since returned to his own Corps of the REME at their headquarters near Reading and wants to bring some of the wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq out to the island.

Johnson is also considering the possibility of organising a visit for some of the regiment's bereaved families. “Obvioulsy, it's early days, we have no dates or numbers yet but want to see what we can do out in Majorca and then work around what is feasible,” Johnson explained.

Johnson is responsible for the wounded along their respective pathways and the thought of a holiday gives them a major incentive to make positive progress.

Due to the sensitivity of the topic, anyone whishing to help in any way possible should email the Bulletin on editorial@majorcadailybulletin.es and details will be passed on to those responsible.

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