Injured Hartlepool veteran given fresh start by Help for Heroes

Hartlepool RAF veteran Darren Kamara , who competed as a member of the British Armed Forces Archery Team.
Hartlepool RAF veteran Darren Kamara , who competed as a member of the British Armed Forces Archery Team.

An injured Hartlepool RAF veteran has revisited the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre to say thank you for it helping him to start a new life.

Darren Kamara made an emotional return to the place he called home for almost a year after being medically discharged following serving seven years in the RAF. He visited the charity’s recovery centre in Colchester with his seven-month-old son Oryn.

Darren Kamara with wife Lisa and their son Oryn.

Darren Kamara with wife Lisa and their son Oryn.

The former Lance Corporal was injured during a tour of Afghanistan in 2007, when a weapons mounted installation kit vehicle (WMIK) he was in drove into a hole. Darren was crushed between the machine gun and the vehicle.

He suffered prolapsed discs and developed T4 syndrome, a spinal injury that causes symptoms such as diffuse arm pain, pins and needles, plus numbness in the upper arm.

Darren’s career in the Armed Forces ended after he suffered a relapse five years later. As he was about to be promoted, his neck locked and a scan revealed the full extent of the damage.

Recalling the event, Darren said: “At first I was upset, but that very quickly changed to a real fear with the realisation of what it meant to lose my career.

“I was scared for the future, not being able to work regularly or sometimes even at all. I even contemplated the worst at one point while staying at the Recovery Centre. I hit my lowest point and was in a very bad place for a little while.

“It was only my fiancee and the help of the team at the centre that got me to move past it. I could have been in a much worse place now without the Recovery Centre.”

While staying at the centre, Darren competed as a member of the British Armed Forces Archery Team at the Invictus Games in 2014. Already a qualified photographer, Darren also attended photography workshops which encouraged him to continue.

Darren’s passion has led to a successful career as a freelance photographer and he has taken images for GQ and Porsche.

To see some of Darren’s images, visit, www.darrenkamaraphotography.com