Afghanistan veteran with medals and child
9 April 2013

Journey to recovery for soldier and his family

Olive and Phil Bagnall, whose son Hayden sustained an injury in Afghanistan last year, talk about SSAFA’s role in his recovery.


Journey to recovery for soldier and his family

When 21 year old Hayden Bagnall sustained a life changing injury in Afghanistan, SSAFA were there for him and his family, offering support and a ‘Home Away From Home’ at Norton House, Birmingham, whilst he recovered. As the first anniversary of Hayden’s injury approaches, his parents, Olive and Philip reflect on his journey to recovery and the vital support that they received from SSAFA.

Olive pick ups the story,

“Hayden was on his second tour at the end of June 2012 when a member of his patrol group detonated an IED and suffered severe injures whilst on patrol. Hayden went to provide first aid but unfortunately, as he approached his injured friend he triggered a second blast that shattered his left foot and left him with severe shrapnel injuries. Hayden and his friend were rushed to Camp Bastion by helicopter and surgeons fought to save Hayden’s foot.

“We had no idea how serious his condition was until we were visited by a family liaison officer and two days later we were being taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to see Hayden, not knowing what to expect and feeling as if we were in a sort of bubble.”

Philip continues,

“You’re on such auto pilot when you get told the news so we didn’t really know what to expect from Norton House. We didn’t even really think about where we would be staying or how long for. We just wanted to be near Hayden. We thought we would just be staying in a Travel Lodge so we were amazed when we saw Norton House. It was out of this world, a real home from home.

“The staff were lovely. We didn’t have to worry about anything – we hadn’t really known what to pack but if we needed anything it was provided. Even the transport to the hospital was arranged for you.

“Little things like that made all the difference in the early days as we could only really concentrate on Hayden and his recovery”

Hayden spent two months in a wheel chair while undergoing numerous operations and physiotherapy. His foot is now held together with screws and metal plates and, although he can walk with a stick, he will need further operations and is in constant pain. It is hoped that Hayden will make a full recovery although he may be left with a limp.

Olive and Philip were so impressed with the house that Philip along with his colleagues, raised £370 for the local branch of SSAFA along with an iPad for Hayden to keep him entertained during his recovery.