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Wrexham soldier calls on ‘walkers’ army’ to support hospice

FORMER serviceman Shaun Stocker is a man on a mission.

The 27-year-old from Wrexham defied the odds after losing both his legs and most of his eyesight after stepping on an explosive device in Afghanistan.

Shaun, who served with the 1st Battalion Royal Welsh, was just 19 and six days away from the end of his tour of duty in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan when he suffered his devastating injuries. But fast-forward eight years and Shaun is now a motivational speaker and on a new mission – to encourage as many people as possible to sign up to the Nightingale House Hospice Midnight Walk.

This year, the normally ladies-only walk is open to just about everyone, with children and men invited. And Shaun, who walks with the aid of two prosthetic legs, is campaigning to get as many people as possible signed up.

“If there is one thing my own experiences have taught me it is that getting involved in positive experiences can make a difference to how you feel and that’s why I give my backing to events like this.  People go through difficult things in life, family traumas and the like, and having organisations like Nightingale House can help during really difficult times.

“The hospice helps many people so, opening the Midnight Walk up to men and children is a way for everyone to get involved and do their bit. And for anyone worried about taking part then I’d say this: there’s an army of supporters ready to welcome you and give you the support you need to finish the course,” said Shaun.

The road to recovery has been a long one for Shaun. He was flown home for extensive treatment at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, spent four weeks in an induced coma, and had some 40 operations in six years. He was later transferred to the Headley Court Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre where he began his long road to recovery, spending four years in a wheelchair before learning to walk again with the help of prosthetic legs. Shaun soon found that throwing himself into positive events and activities helped with his recovery.

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“People sometimes want to talk about or deal with things in different ways and may prefer to go out and do something practical instead which makes the Midnight Walk an ideal opportunity to do some good, get some exercise and improve the fitness levels all at the same time. Doing positive things has certainly helped me. The walk is also an opportunity to help Nightingale House. One small act of kindness can cause a ripple effect, creating hundreds of good things, so I’d encourage everyone to get their name down and walk with us,” added Shaun.

The dad-of-one will be guest of honour at the June 16 Midnight Walk and will offer inspirational words to all walkers before they set off on either a 6k or 10k walk around Wrexham in the dark. Nightingale House Hospice’s Debbie Barton said: “Shaun is our ‘Mr Motivator.’ He never fails to make people feel good and give them the inspiration they need to keep moving forward. And moving forward is what we need people to do now. Shaun will be supporting the walk and encouraging people to head on out and join us. This year, the Midnight Walk is not just a ladies’ night but an event that just about everyone can get involved in.”

To join Shaun on the fundraising walk, visit www.nightingalehouse.co.uk/events or call the hospice Fundraising Office on 01978 314292.