There can’t be many people in Essex that have not heard of the work of Help for Heroes, the charity that supports those with injuries and illnesses attributable to their service in the British Armed Forces. No matter when someone served, they believe that those prepared to put their lives second, deserve a second chance at life. With 7 medical discharges every day, there is still a great need for their services.
We caught up with Wali Mohammad Noori at the Help for Heroes centre in Colchester. The centre helps those returning for duty or transitioning into civilian life. Residents and day visitors can take part in activities and life skills courses to help them get back out doing what they enjoy most. The Centre aims to inspire those who have been wounded, injured or become sick while serving our country and enable them to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives.
Wali has always been a keen sportsman particularly enjoying boxing and running. In 2008 he was accepted
as a translator and cultural adviser with British armed forces in Afghanistan. He was based the British Army at Camp Bastion. His job was to help facilitate communication between the British Army and the locals, as well as the Afghan National Forces. On the 12th September Wali’s life changed dramatically when an incident with an IED (improvised explosive devise) turned his world upside down and he was left blind. In 2014 he was offered political asylum from the British government and the opportunity to relocate to the United Kingdom. He has since worked on his rehabilitation with Help for Heroes and has returned to one of his first loves – running.
As a result of all this hard training and working with his Guide Runners Wali ran the London Marathon this year and has been selected for the Invictus Games in 2020 which will be held in the Hague, in the Netherlands. Wali says: “I am hoping to do really well. My blindness hasn’t taken away my sporting ambition; neither has it put limits on me continuing my education, as I’m currently pursuing further studies and enjoying family life here in Essex”.
Wali and the Help for Heroes team are such an inspiration to us all. The dedication of the staff is apparent as they look to improve personal independence, raise morale and develop camaraderie with others is palpable. We’re sure that many of us can build our own self-confidence to try something new this June. Let’s be brave this June for 3030!