Organised by David Sage, Dougie’s uncle, the Trust paid for a group of four injured Coldstream Guardsmen and one injured Welsh Guardsman to join the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s three masted tall ship called Lord Nelson.
The men boarded the Lord Nelson for a 320 mile voyage from Las Palmas around the Canary Islands.
Two of the Coldstream Guardsmen, Greg Dunnings and Billy Robinson, served in Dougie’s platoon and witnessed the horrific events that took place on 30 November 2009 in Afghanistan for which Dougie was later awarded the Military Cross. Greg had suffered serious injuries to his legs during the explosions on 30 November 2009 and Billy was also injured by a later explosion.
Scott Cooper and Bob Godwin, the other two Coldstream Guardsmen, knew Dougie however were serving with another platoon in Afghanistan when they received their injuries. Dale Leach, the Welsh Guardsman replaced a Coldstreamer who had to go back into hospital for a further operation at the last minute.
Billy, Scott and Bob relaxing the first evening after signing on as crewmembers.
The Lord Nelson is a fully equipped tall ship able to take both disabled and abled bodies aboard and, as a result, all those who had signed up took an equal part in cleaning the heads, washing the decks, serving the meals and washing up etc. These 5 wonderful young men, determined to make the best of their situation and get on with their lives, were an inspiration to all who were lucky enough to share the voyage with them.
As a direct result of this voyage, other regiments have followed suit with their own funding - the Royal Welsh Fusiliers have 10 of their injured soldiers on David’s next voyage in September -; one of the guardsman has applied to join an army sail training association; and another has been inspired to retrain as a medical orderly and return to Afghanistan.
In David’s words “being with these young men was a wonderful and indeed humbling experience for me, and I look forward to taking more of them, funded through Dougie's Trust, in the future.”
The Trust hopes that this trip will be repeated every February each year.
From left to right, Bob Goodwin (shot though the chest and lost a lung), Dale Leach (IED leg amputee above the knee), Scott Cooper (IED leg amputee below the knee), Greg Dunnings (IED leg injuries) and Billy Robinson (blast injuries to the face).