by JULIE ANN SPENCE
|Andrew Allen with his wife Natalie and son Carter.||Ranger Andrew Allen.|
AFTER meeting a Lisburn soldier who sustained horrific injuires in Afghanistan, local man Raymond Corbett was inspired to take on a charity cycle to try and make life a bit easier for him.
On Wednesday (September 29) Raymond, the Club President of the Royal British Legion in Lisburn, will be getting on his bike and cycling from Cork to Lisburn in aid of the Andrew Allen Wheelchair Appeal.
"I was fortunate enough to attend a Help For Heroes dinner at the Culloden recently and got talking to Ranger Andrew Allen, who sustained terrible injuries while on duty in Afghanistan," explained Raymond.
"Andrew, who is a local man, was only 19 when he was involved in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan in July 2008 while serving with the Royal Irish Regiment. He lost both of his legs and has only 30% vision in his right eye. Despite his injuries he has a very bright outlook for the future and cares for his wife Natalie and son Carter.
"Andrew has been well cared for, however I asked if there was anything we could do for him," continued Raymond. "He said that a new Tilite TX wheelchair, which would be more comfortable and lighter so that Natalie can lift it into the car, would be a dream come true for him and his family.
"Andrew will be unable to get prosthetic legs for a few years yet as his bones are still growing so a good comfortable wheelchair would do him the world of good." Raymond decided he wanted to do something to help this young man and his family. "My goal is to raise £3000 for Andrew s dream wheelchair," continued Raymond. "My plan is to cycle unaided from Cork Royal British Legion to Lisburn Royal British Legion, a distance of approximately 335 miles. "I will start on September 29 and complete the cycle by October 2 so that Andrew has his wheelchair just as the First and Second Battalions deploy to Afghanistan again on operations."
Raymond is inviting all Legion members, Associations, ex-servicemen and their families to the Royal British Legion on Saturday October 2 to welcome Andrew and his family to the Legion. "I believe this is the least we can do for this young man and his family to make his life more bearable," added Raymond.
Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so by sending a cheque, made payable to Andrew Allen Wheelchair Appeal, to Raymond Corbett, Club President, Royal British L e g i o n, Sackville S t r e e t, Lisburn, BT27 4AB.