Wiltshire

Veterans join Help for Heroes scheme to restore forgotten canals

Heritage Heroes boat at Ryeford Image copyright Heritage Heroes
Image caption The first phase of the project is taking place in Gloucestershire in partnership with the Cotswold Canals Trust

Injured servicemen and women are helping to restore forgotten canals as part of a scheme to help them rebuild their lives.

About 60 veterans from around the UK are taking part in the Heritage Heroes project over the next 18 months.

Military charity Help for Heroes and the Canal and River Trust set up the scheme, which will place the veterans with engineers and other experts.

Veterans taking part will be able to earn City and Guilds qualifications.

Image copyright David Teague
Image caption David Teague, 26, of Tidworth, Wiltshire, served as a Sapper with the Royal Engineers before he was medically discharged in April 2016

The 18-month project has been paid for with £500,000 from the People's Postcode Lottery.

Giles Woodhouse, of Help for Heroes, said: "Leaving the military or realising that your career choice may no longer be possible can be daunting.

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Media captionDavid Teague served with the Royal Engineers before being medically discharged

"This project will resonate with many of our military men and women who will already have some of the necessary skills and enjoy working outdoors, as part of a team."

Veteran David Teague, 26, of Tidworth, Wiltshire, served as a Sapper with the Royal Engineers from 2005.

He spent five years in Germany, did two tours of Afghanistan and was also deployed to Jordan and Austria.

In April he was medically discharged following a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Having joined the Army at 16, I feel massively institutionalised and my hope is that Heritage Heroes will help with my transition into civilian life," he said.

"I really want to get back into working as part of a team and build up my confidence again."

Image copyright Mike Gallagher
Image caption Veterans will be working with engineers to restore 500m of canal bank and towpath at Ryeford Wharf

The first phase of the project is taking place in Gloucestershire in partnership with the Cotswold Canals Trust.

Veterans will be restoring 500 m (1,640 ft) of canal bank and towpath at Ryeford Wharf.

The project will also run in Pocklington, Yorkshire, Pewsham on the Wilts and Berks Canal and along the Kennet and Avon Canal.

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