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.
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