After Prince Harry visited the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013, he was moved to bring the Invictus Games event to an international audience. Over 400 athletes from 14 participating nations will take part, and the Games will be held in sporting venues all over London – many of them top-grade facilities used in the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. It's going to be an incredible event, with a huge star-studded concert at the closing ceremony and thousands of visitors expected. Moreover, the focus on what injured servicemen and woman can achieve post-injury is a truly inspiring concept.
I will leave the description there as the fantastic Invictus website will provide all the details you could ever wish for. What I will tell you about, however, is the involvement of one of our very own authors.
Helmand to Himalayas: One Soldier's Inspirational Journey is David Wiseman's story, out now on a special early release, and it's one of those rare reads that will move you to deep sorrow and joy by turn. It begins with David's experiences as a captain of The Yorkshire Regiment serving first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan. With gentle wit and staggering honesty, he explores many aspects of the British experience in Afghanistan, uncovering the absurdities of the conflict, and the challenges and dangers that have faced the British soldiers fighting there, alongside mentoring Afghan allies.
On one fateful patrol in Helmand Province, David was the first soldier on the scene of an attack on five British soldiers by a rogue Afghan policeman. Just a few weeks later, whilst fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with his Afghan allies, David was himself badly hit in a firefight with the Taliban. The bullet that almost killed him is still lodged in his chest today, inches from his heart. After relaying these traumatic events, Helmand to the Himalayas chronicles David's subsequent rehabilitation and the mental and physical low points he endured after his injury and consequent medical discharge from the army.
But from those low points David would eventually ascend to the highest peak in the world – climbing Mount Everest alongside a band of other wounded veterans with the charity Walking With The Wounded. The book charts this life affirming journey with compassion and humour, and it will be obvious why David was so closely involved with the establishment of the Invictus Games.
But his organisational efforts are only part of the story – David will actually be competing in the event as a swimmer! So make sure you follow the games, and keep an eye out for the involvement of one of Osprey's very own. We hope you'll join us in supporting a remarkable man at a truly inspiring event.