The Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, presented the keys of a new Vauxhall Astra to Motability customer Andy Grant, a former Royal Marine Commando who was injured while serving in Afghanistan. The presentation took place on Tuesday 24th March at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, London and was attended by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, Lieutenant General Andrew Gregory and Brigadier Charlie Stickland OBE.
Andy was critically injured while serving with 45 Commando, in Helmand Province. A trip wire attached to two IEDs was triggered and both were detonated. He was twenty years old.
After receiving lifesaving treatment on the ground from his fellow Royal Marines, he was airlifted to Camp Bastion. He suffered 27 separate injuries and woke up from a coma two weeks later. For the next 18 months he spent all his time in and out of Headley Court in Surrey, where he began to adjust to life with his injuries. And in 2010, he had his right leg amputated, just below the knee.
The vehicle, ordered at retailer Lookers of Liverpool, is an automatic Astra 1.6i Elite Sport Tourer, and has been fitted with a twin flip folding left foot accelerator.
Andy Vincent, Motability Sales and Marketing Manager, also attended the event. He said “Vauxhall Motors is a founding member of the Motability Scheme which was set-up in 1977. It has a long history of providing vehicles for disabled drivers, their family and carers. Andy is a truly remarkable person and we are delighted that he has chosen Vauxhall to meet his needs.”
Andy Grant left the Royal Marines in May 2012. Since then he has begun a new career in motivational speaking. Help for Heroes supported him with the setup costs, including training and marketing. He now spends much of his time travelling around the country talking about his experiences. Andy also competed in the Invictus Games in 2014, and won two Gold Medals in 400m and 1,500m Men's Ambulant IT1.
He lives in Liverpool, with his partner Leonie, 28, and her two children, Payton and Brooke. They also recently celebrated the birth of their daughter, Alba, in October 2014.
Reflecting on his experiences, Andy said: "I am very proud of my achievements and hope my story will show other people what they can achieve in the face of adversity. I am all about looking forward. I cannot undo what happened and I have no regrets.
"My life has moved on in an amazing way and it's all down to what happened. It's given me more of a life than I probably would have had."
Following the presentation Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP said: “Our brave troops do a challenging and sometimes dangerous job. It’s only right that we continue to recognise and support those wounded in service. So it is a privilege to give Andy the keys to this specially-made vehicle – he is an inspirational individual who embodies the fighting spirit of our Armed Forces.”
Lord Sterling of Plaistow, Chairman of Motability also commented: "We are very pleased that the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP handed over the keys of a Motability car to Andy, a truly inspirational ex-Marine. We are very proud to use this occasion to honour those who need help with disabilities sustained whilst serving the country in the Armed Forces.”
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