A surveyor from Leicestershire has taken part in a ‘skihabilitation’ trip to support wounded veterans and help them regain confidence and embark on a new path to fitness and wellbeing.
Matthias Charlton has supported a ski-based development programme with UK charity Supporting Wounded Veterans (SWV).
The keen skier volunteered as a ‘Buddy’ to accompany a group of 25 medically discharged military personnel on a seven-day trip to the Alps.
Matthias, a surveyor at Fisher German’s Ashby office, joined other buddies to act as a friend and provide support and reassurance to veterans as they were taught adaptive skiing methods by instructors.
He said: “I heard about the charity through a friend and following successful interview, was lucky enough to be selected as a Buddy.
“A lot of the veterans suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and found that they struggled with social integration and were unable to find employment; some had become completely isolated.
“The skiing trip gave them the opportunity to visit an amazing location where they could learn new skills. Most of the Veterans were physically challenged and they were taught adaptive skiing techniques.
“The buddies were also able to have a go at the techniques – something that gave us an insight into just how difficult they can be, for example, blind skiing, sit skiing or skiing on one leg.
“The week gave the veterans a chance to open up about their experiences. It was heart-breaking to hear stories not just about the veterans’ time in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also how they returned home and were not given jobs due to their injuries.
“It was clear how much the week meant to the veterans and by the last day, all of them had a clearer mind, a sense of achievement and an enormous ambition to get back on track, manage their injuries and most importantly make a success of their civilian life.”
Matthias, who joined Fisher German in January, is now continuing his work for the charity and has so far raised a total of £2,126 and has also become a mentor to provide friendship, advice and support to wounded veterans.
He added: “The week was an incredibly inspiring experience which was both electrifying and calming and exhilarating and exhausting.
“Now the veterans are back in the UK, it’s more important than ever to keep in contact and make the most of their new-found confidence.
“The charity will continue its support through a mentoring and job-finding programme that helps them into re-training and employment. I also wanted to offer my support by becoming a mentor and being someone for people to call for a chat or meet up with to provide friendship and advice.
“SWV relies entirely on donations, and my family, friends, colleagues at Fisher German and The Henry Sale Foundation have all been incredibly supportive, helping me raise a huge amount to help the charity continue its incredible work.”
Anyone who would like to support Matthias and donate to the charity is able to visit