Disabled war veteran from Eskbank set to take on London Marathon in memory of fellow soldier
Severely partially sighted Steven Waterston (49) is taking on the 26.2 mile challenge to raise money for The British Limbless Ex-Service Men‘s Association (BLESMA), and to honour his friend David Timmins from Neilston - a war hero who suffered serious blast injuries in 2009 leaving him with only one eye, emergency tracheotomy and in a coma for 12 days, and who recieved the Queen’s Gallery Medal for his actions in Afghanistan.
Steven met David at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court, while both were recovering from injuries.
He said: “Despite recovering from a torn calf muscle I am committed to running on Sunday in memory of my good friend David who suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in January, just a few weeks before his 40th birthday, leaving behind his devastated family which included his fiancée and their unborn son, David’s other son Rhys (13) and David’s step Daughter Summer (14).
"David and I were roommates at Headley Court in early 2010 for four months.
"The two of us were going through dark times both mentally and physically and trying to come to terms with our situations during our extensive neurological and physical rehabilitation.
“David and I saw first-hand the many service men and women who were living with not only the physical effects of amputation - but the harrowing psychological trauma that surrounds their everyday thoughts."
Post discharge David continued to put many of his efforts into raising funds for service personnel living with amputation by taking on challenges such as 1000 mile cycle from Lands’ End to John O Groats and 3000 mile cycle across America.
Steven added: "By the very nature of serving in the military, many of BLESMA membership have started to build their own families which are invariably young and already in an unfamiliar situation.
“Given the current situation in Afghanistan - let’s not let David’s name and the names of the many others who have lost their lives as a result of their injuries be in vein.”
Speaking about his own health conditions, which have included three ankle ligament reconstructions, deep vein thrombosis, meningitis and a second subarachnoid haemorrhage, leaving him severely partially sighted, Steven said: “Recovery has been long, often difficult and upsetting, but peppered with huge moments of joy and achievement from learning to walk again, read, write and try to be like the old me.
"Now with significant left sided deficit I remain sight impaired and am never without my white guide cane/stick, even when running.
“In 2011 I joined an athletics club and began training with the senior endurance squad before becoming involved as an athletics official and eventually a middle distance coach in 2014 which has given me an enormous sense of satisfaction.
"Alongside all of this I returned to study in 2012 and qualified as a sports therapist and advanced PT before setting up my own small practice.
"I’m most definitely not the fastest runner but I continue to strive and be my best. I have managed to complete many marathons but none I suspect will be more special than this year’s in London.
“While I'm no Captain Tom and don't expect to exceed £30 million, I'm hoping this inspires generosity and support which would be very welcome by me, the charity and of course - David’s family.”