Injured officer praises "brilliant" staff at Headley Court
An injured officer who met Prince Charles and Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, at a rehabilitation centre on Wednesday has praised its "brilliant" staff for helping to put his shattered life back together.
Major Bernie Broad, of the Grenadier Guards, was injured in 2009 in an explosion in Nad-e-ali, one of the most dangerous parts of Helmand province, Afghanistan, when a lorry he was travelling in to delivering parcels to soldiers was blown up.
His arms, ribs and one leg were broken and it was Headley Court in Epsom which got him back on his feet and back onto his motorbike.
Three years on, and now 46, he still returns there intermittently for support.
Prince Charles spent time talking with Major Broad during his visit to open a new £16.9m Jubilee Rehabilitation Complex, and heard about the vegetable garden and greenhouse where he works and the birdcages that he builds.
Speaking to the Epsom Guardian afterwards, Major Broad said: "The staff genuinely care - they hit the nail on the head all the time.
"The facilities at Headley Court are second-to-none - you can’t help but make amazing progress.
"At first you are in denial of your injury - I didn’t think I was as badly injured as I was. That brings you down and you fall into a hole and these brilliant people help you out of it.
"Then something clicks and you start to take up the massive advantages here which help you to become the person you are.
"I was never much of an outdoors person who was into gardening, but, since the accident I have loved it. Doing physical activity makes you feel normal again.
"The first time I sat back on my motorbike after the injury my wife was in tears because she said it seemed like everything was normal again. She said we wouldn’t be chucking it out."
Major Broad, originally from Manchester, joined the army when he was just 16.
He said: "I always wanted to join, so I did - with my mum in tears and my dad pushing me onto the train.
"This new facility will give staff more space to do the work they do to look after the patients."
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall spent two and a half hours touring the centre’s facilities and meeting patients, staff and representatives.
Headley Court was originally developed as a rehabilitation centre for aircrew and officers during World War Two and has now grown to an 84-acre site with accommodation and rehabilitation facilities for 200 patients, with nearly 400 members of civilian and military staff.