The Lord-Lieutenant attended the Armed Forces Race Day which was run to raise funds for ABF The Soldier's Charity at Haydock Park on Saturday 25th May 2019. ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the national charity of the British Army, for soldiers, veterans, and their immediate families, for life.
One of the beneficiaries this year was Martyn Gibbons MBE. Martyn served for nearly 17 years including operational tours of Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia and two tours of Afghanistan. In 2007, while under fire in Sangin, Martyn was seriously injured after being hit by a mortar round. He was confined to a wheelchair for the first two years of his recovery. However, he has battled to regain the use of his legs, having undergone several operations to strengthen them with metal rods and pins as well as a skin, muscle and bone grafts.
After two and a half years of intensive rehabilitation Martyn was discharged from the Army in October 2010. His wife, Kim, decided to leave her job to help care for Martyn and their three daughters. Experiencing ongoing pain and weakness in his legs, Martyn can only walk short distances and the trauma of his injuries has affected the whole family.
Over the years ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has given Martyn and Kim a number of grants to support them at this difficult time. The first grant funded a treadmill so Martyn could exercise and work on his physical rehabilitation at home. The second grant, later that year, funded a respite break for the family in France giving them much needed quality time together away.
In September 2012, the charity gave funding to Kim. She wanted to study nursing, so The Soldiers’ Charity stepped in to assist with a grant to cover the cost of an access to higher education course. After working hard, her application to study at the University of Central Lancashire was accepted and she completed the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing with a 2:1; she is now a qualified Staff Nurse for East Lancashire NHS.
The Gibbons family are passionate supporters of The Soldiers’ Charity and Martyn was awarded an MBE in recognition of his gallant and distinguished services in Afghanistan.