Former Royal Air Force veteran, Dave Rose from Norfolk, spent 31 years as an Aircraft Engineer before leaving the service in 2018 due to physical injuries sustained on duty. Dave’s injuries included a partially paralysed right arm and hand, having a spinal Cord Stimulator fitted and taking strong medication to deal with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
Dave first encountered Help for Heroes whilst at Headley Court, where Help for Heroes Band of Brothers fellowship offered support. Dave visited Chavasse VC House Recovery centre in Colchester where sport played a major part in Dave’s recovery journey. ‘’I attended several activities, including a 3 day Outwards Bounds Residential, Beneficiary & Partner activity weekend and indoor skiing with Disability Skiing UK.’’ Dave went on to become part of team True Spirit at Phoenix House Recovery Centre and attended training weekends, competing in triathlons and other extreme challenges.
‘’Injury slowly took away my ability to do the adventurous and sporting activities I loved. This, along with seeing my career slip through my fingers, hit me hard and I was not in a good place. A lot of people and organisations (RAF benevolent Fund, Royal British Legion, SSAFA, Headley Court & more) were involved in my recovery with Help for Heroes playing a major role. The events and opportunities were the vehicle that introduced me to other injured personnel, from whom I grew friendships, gained knowledge, and received support. The activities allowed me to discover what I could do with adaption, be part of a team again and regain belief in myself. My ultimate example is the Lakeland 50 event with Team True Spirit; a 50-mile hike across the Lake District Hills in under 24 hours. It was the hardest thing I have done since injury, but with a staff member with me every step of the way and a fantastic team, I completed it; the extreme effort is long forgotten but the achievement and extraordinary support will not’’.
Dave’s message to those who support Help for Heroes: ‘’Your support has helped people like me think and act beyond their perceived limitations, re-engage with the community and lead a wholesome life’’.
Dave first got introduced to riding trikes whilst on the Help for Heroes Battleback recovery course.’’ I was really struggling to come to terms with my injury, the discomfort, and the future; I was withdrawn, angry and felt isolated. The trike was one of the first things I found I could do without too much pain, gave me the same buzz as upright cycling, and re-introduced an amount of risk that I could control’’.
To anyone thinking of trying out a trike for themselves Dave says, “You don’t have to have an injury to ride a trike and there’s a few advantages over the 2-wheelers, like never falling over at the traffic lights when you can’t unclip and the knowledge that 3 wheels beats 2 on ice! As for advice, get a good idea what type of riding you’re going to do (road, trail, competition, touring, etc), get chatting with some trike riders and to make sure you get the most suitable model - try before you buy.’’
Dave helped test the recumbent cycling jersey and give helpful feedback on its performance during the design and production stage. ‘’Prior to this Recumbent specific item, I’ve had to use a standard cycling jersey, which when you’re sitting in a chair means no useful pockets, moisture wicking materials in the wrong place and a fit that just doesn’t work. The final design has addressed these issues meaning I now have a place for my phone, snacks, keys and all manner of items whilst remaining comfortable with far improved moisture control. Having consulted with fellow riders during the design phase and tested the production version, I think people will be pleased’’.
2021 has many positive challenges ahead for Dave. ’The first is to get back on form following a period of injury related then being hit with Covid, means training is all about gently building up the distance to regain stamina prior to adding the speed and race drills. Fortunately, I’ll be able to do some of this training virtually through the terrifically supportive Help for Heroes Zwift Rides. The second half of 2021 should see a couple of half-distance triathlons with Team True Spirit, a charity cycle with the RAF Benevolent Fund, and getting out again with my local cycling club. Hopefully the Covid situation will greatly improve, and more opportunities will become apparent.’
To anyone thinking of coming forward for support, Dave says, ‘The hardest thing is to admit you cannot do it alone and to ask for help. Looking back, I cannot believe the journey I’ve been on, and the person I’ve become, all of which started through asking for help’.