Games show us how armed forces spirit is indefatigable

Prince Harry presents Mickey Yule with the powerlifting gold medal during the Invictus Games  Picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Prince Harry presents Mickey Yule with the powerlifting gold medal during the Invictus Games Picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP

LETTER OF THE DAY ‘We cannot stand by and let short-sighted decisions threaten our city’

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Imagine training and putting your life on hold for an international competition and then, once you reach the podium, giving your medal away.

I’m no great athlete, but I train quite hard for the races I run and on the only occasion I had to leave a race without finishing, I was gutted not to get my bit of bling at the end.

One of the aims of the games is to inspire respect and understanding of wounded veterans, whether they choose to pursue a career in sport or not

So imagine being a member of the armed forces, training endlessly to take part in swimming events at the Invictus Games, and then handing your medal – a gold one – away.

That’s exactly what Sergeant Elizabeth Marks, from Arizona, did last week.

When Prince Harry presented her with one of four medals she was to eventually win at the games, she asked if it could be given to the Cambridgeshire hospital that saved her life.

On the eve of the 2014 Invictus Games Elizabeth, who remains a serving officer in the US Army, collapsed with Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a lung condition that threatened her life.

She had been in the UK to take part in the first Invictus Games, but ended up being put in a coma for 10 days at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, which specialises in treating heart and lung diseases.

The medal is to be sent there to say thank you to the hospital’s staff for her care.

It’s one of many inspiring stories that have come out of the Invictus Games, including those from people in the Portsmouth area who have gone to Florida this year to compete.

One of the aims of the games is to inspire respect and understanding of wounded veterans, whether they choose to pursue a career in sport or not.

It’s only been two years since the games began, but I think they’re succeeding in that aim.

Not only that, but they’re showing us exactly how indefatigable the spirit of armed forces personnel the world over actually is.

The date’s been set for next year’s Invictus Games, which I bet will be just as inspiring as this year’s has been.

Prince Harry should really be congratulated for starting something so worthwhile.

SEXIST? NO, IT’S GOOD TO SEE THE BOYS GET THEIR OWN GROUP

I’m loving the idea of a group for men being set up.

The latest Men’s Shed calls Titchfield Festival Theatre its home – hardly a shed in the traditional sense of the word.

The group is designed to provide support for men aged over 55 who might be feeling isolated, or who just want a project after retiring, by offering them a way to come together and do practical activities like woodwork, etc.

My fear is people will label this project sexist, because of the name. But we women have many organisations just for us, so it’s nice to see the boys get one of their own.

And, hell, if we want to do woodwork I’m sure we can get together and do that too.

Good for Community Action Fareham for bringing the Men’s Shed idea to Titchfield.

WERE PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE USE OF THE M27 SO WRONG?

I can’t quite explain how pleased I was to read in The News that the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership is trying to create a new public transport network.

I for one can hardly wait.

The M27 is terrible – how a main transport route between two of Hampshire’s biggest cities can be quite so difficult is beyond me.

I understand about volume of traffic, but still – when the motorway opened I bet there were predictions as to how much it’d be used by now. Were those predictions so wrong? Did they think we’d all be using the train?

Of course, thanks to Dr Beeching and his recommendations we don’t have the branch lines that we used to.

So I was also pleased to read the LEP’s proposal is trying to get better rail and bus links between the cities.