Eugene Conlin, 67, joined the Army in 1970 and served in Norway, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany. He was a corporal when he was made redundant in 1979. He went on to serve three years in the TA before joining the RAF Regiment at the age of 32 for a further six years. He served in Cyprus, Germany and at Greenham Common and left the forces in 1989.
Eugene, who lives in Lincolnshire, struggles with his back and a long-term knee injury sustained during a training exercise and was unable to get out and about without a car until SSAFA caseworker Andy Ingham organised funding for a mountain trike.
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He said: “I was injured during a training exercise. It was absolutely freezing and there was snow on the ground. My knee just bent the wrong way unfortunately. I had numerous operations while I was in the military but then I damaged my back as well. It started out as nothing much but then it just deteriorated.”
Eugene moved from Powys to Lincolnshire two years ago following the sudden death of his son, Pryderi. “He had just gone back to university and we had spoken on the phone but the next day he was gone. There was no obvious cause of death. I needed to move house so I just got on the internet and found a place in Lincolnshire. Now I live in a small quiet village and there are a lot of Regiment people around here so I have had a lot of support.
“I decided to apply for some funding from Help for Heroes and they put me in touch with Andy from SSAFA and he organised everything for me. Part of the funding for my trike came from the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund via Help for Heroes and the rest came from ABF - The Soldiers’ Charity, the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal Logistics Corps. Until Andy and SSAFA got involved I was having to use the car just to go to the shops about 500m away which is a bit ridiculous. Now I have got the mountain trike it has made all the difference. I’m getting out and about again which is brilliant. It’s also good for cardio – I can go off road and onto the recreation ground and around the football field which is great exercise for me. I love it!”
Eugene is now a volunteer helper with SSAFA’s Boston & Sleaford Division and uses his mountain trike to support the team at outdoor events.