Guardsman Dave Watson
Guardsman Dave Watson from the 1st Battalion Scots Guard lost both legs and his right arm in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan. One of the key principles of the armed forces covenant is making sure that where it’s appropriate, Service people receive special treatment above and beyond the service a civilian would expect.
The MOD funds essential parts of adapted housing for personnel injured during service on a case by case basis, driven by their needs. It starts with an occupational therapist assessment and is followed by site meetings with the person involved and MOD and Service representatives who then turn the recommendations into a design proposal. Non essential features such as the conservatory were funded privately.
Dave got the keys to his new adapted home in Preston, Lancashire, earlier this year.
It’s been very hard adapting to life, but I have had to do it. The staff at Headley Court teach you how to do everything; if they had not been there it would have been much harder.
The three bedroom bungalow was the biggest in the area with a bit of land attached which meant I could do whatever I wanted with it. So I had an extension, a wet room, I’ve had a few doors widened so I can use the wheelchair, and the back of the house has been opened out into a kitchen and dining area. I’ve also put on a conservatory and I still have lots of land so I’m planning on a patio and a carp pond, I’m really into my fishing.
It will change the way I live. In my old terraced house there was no room for me to walk around; I had to shuffle around and use a stair lift. Now I’m here I’ll be walking around every day. It’s important to me because it will get me onto my [artificial] legs more often.
It will be brilliant to have my own place. Back at my old house I would go out with my mates and I would come in late and have to wake my mum and dad to open the door. Here I can come and go whenever I please, it will make me more independent.