More injured veterans should seek charity aid

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We all walk into a room, stop, scratch our heads and wonder why on earth we are there. But imagine being given a slice of bread, a toaster, knife and butter and not knowing what to do with them.

That was just one of the many dilemmas facing Lance Corporal Chris Nowell.

As he so graphically describes on Page 5 today, he has had to re-learn life’s oh-so-simple, everyday tasks to survive in the modern world.

A member of the King’s Royal Hussars, he is one of the thousands of victims of the war in Afghanistan.

Six years ago he was playing cards with colleagues when a Taliban rocket bounced off a wall near his head and exploded.

He knew nothing until he woke up in hospital back in Birmingham with severe brain trauma and sight loss.

In learning how to live a normal life all over again, the 29-year-old father-of-three from Portsmouth has had to learn to walk and how to make toast.

He says: ‘One of the worst moments was being with my occupational therapist and we were in a kitchen scenario where I had to warm up some toast and put some butter on it. I didn’t have a clue.

‘I knew something was wrong in my head, my brain wasn’t telling me how to do it. I would walk into a room and completely forget why.’

It’s an all-too-frequent tale of courage among injured Afghan veterans. But Chris is among the ‘lucky’ ones.

While not for one moment belittling his injuries nor what he has gone through to take his place back in society, he was fortunate enough to have had support from the charity Blind Veterans UK. Many of you will know of it under its previous name – St Dunstan’s.

Chris told his tale to draw attention to the work it does because it needs the publicity.

According to the charity there are more than 68,000 blind veterans in Britain who could be eligible for its help but do not realise it.

Hopefully today’s story about Chris’s recovery, thanks to the charity, will persuade some of them to seek the help and comfort they so richly deserve.