11-06-2015

Last Thursday I was honoured to have been invited to the annual garden  party at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Not Forgotten Association, in recognition of  the work that is being done here in Majorca to help wounded veterans and their partners.The Not Forgotten Association was founded in 1920 following the First World War to support the wounded and this year, the garden party as hosted by Princess Anne, who is patron of the association.
Being a special year for the Gurkhas, who last Tuesday celebrated 200 years of serving the British Army,  and formed   the first group to be presented to HRH The Princess Royal. The group included both veterans who had been medically discharged and those still serving and undergoing rehabilitation at DMRC Headley Court for their injuries. Their injuries, including loss of limbs and gunshot wounds, had been sustained in conflicts from Bosnia in 2004 to Afghanistan much more recently.
And, coincidentally, the father of the Captain in charge of the group, who can not be named because he is still serving, served in the same regiment as my father, the 10th Gurkha Rifles, so for me it was a wonderful experience to meet the group and talk to them.
But, there were hundreds of veterans of all ages and suffering from wounds of varying severity and where I and Majorca fit in is that, through the Bulletin some five years ago, the NFA, was offered a property in the north of the island where groups of veterans and their partners could come and enjoy a holiday/break  away from their rehabilitation and on going treatment.
The local community has really got behind the scheme and four groups of around 16 veterans come out every summer and are extremely well cared for, and these weeks would be impossible without the amazing support  received from the Royal Marines who always provide  help which often means cooking breakfast, helping with the dinner, taking the rubbish and driving so a variety of tasks! And of course supporting the injured lads by just being there and listening.
At the moment there is a group on the island and another to follow next week.
The group this week  comprises  two Grenadier Guards (one suffering from PTSD as a result of Afghanistan and one still suffering as a result of an injury sustained in Northern Ireland!).
 A Coldstream Guardsman suffering from PTSD - Afghanistan.  
 A lad from The Rifles who sustained a gunshot to the arm and eye resulting in sight issues and a brain injury.   
A Royal Marine who lost his leg as a result of an injury sustained in Afghanistan and a lad from the Royal Air Force Regiment who sustained an injury to his hand in Afghanistan.
During the week, they will be going kayaking, out for special dinners, as guests of local restaurants and bars, and just relaxing and enjoying some quality time  while  trying to take their minds off  the life and battle that lies ahead of them and obviously, any help is welcomed.

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