A group of veterans with life-changing injuries, sustained while serving in the line of duty, will attend the 2018 Southern 100 International Road Races, supported by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
Let’s Do Veterans Support Charity, established in 2014, works to support ex-members of the armed forces as they come to terms with physical disabilities such as sight loss, partial paralysis or loss of limbs. Through organising and attending events across the UK, Let’s Do helps veterans gain confidence and become comfortable with their injuries while also providing the opportunity to share experiences with individuals in similar circumstances.
The Steam Packet Company has assisted once again with the cost of return ferry travel for the veterans, and is bringing over a group of six former service personnel and two Let’s Do trustees for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Southern 100 International Road Races, which take place around the Billown circuit from 9th to 12th July.
Let’s Do founder Rob Maxwell, who underwent limb amputation following an injury sustained while serving in the British Army, has been bringing injured veterans to the island since 2014, encouraging them to engage in social activities and restore their enjoyment of biking.
Ross Batchelor was serving in the Royal Navy when he suffered severe injuries which ended his career. Although he received some aftercare support he began to disconnect from society, suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress and was unable to find employment.
Let's Do became involved when by pure chance, a veteran who had been on one of the trips to the Southern 100 got chatting to him in a pub and explained how the charity had helped him. Ross decided to give Let’s Do a call and organised a meet-up with a trustee, before accepting an invitation to attend the Southern 100 races with the charity in 2017.
Ross explained: ‘Right from the word go Let's Do went the extra mile for me, from organising my meeting point and arranging my accommodation to organising outings outside of the racing, making it an unforgettable experience. The Steam Packet Company was also fantastic and took extra steps to ensure we were comfortable on the journey and had everything we needed.
‘The experience gave me a totally new focus and I was so impressed with the races and the charity that I decided to give something back to others. I am now a Let’s Do trustee, I have a job and I have managed to overcome my demons, my life is so much better and it is all down to the dedication of Rob and the team.’
Rob commented: ‘The Southern 100 Motorcycle Racing Club is made up of an amazing group of people who welcome us back year on year and go out of their way to make our visit to the island a trip of a lifetime for the veterans. Ross’ story, just one of many, demonstrates how this trip changes lives for the better and that makes what we do so worthwhile.
‘I would like to say a massive thank you to the Steam Packet Company for its support of our visit to the 2018 Southern 100 International Road Races. Without its backing these trips just wouldn’t be viable, so its support really does mean the world to myself, the trustees and our injured veterans.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward added: ‘Let’s Do is an amazing charity which creates a new lease of life for people who have been seriously injured and had a big part of their lives cruelly taken away. Rob and the trustees help these veterans to come to terms with their devastating injuries, and we are honoured to support the charity once again and assist in the rehabilitation of these individuals.’
Photograph: Let’s Do veterans at the Isle of Man Sea Terminal (L-R) Jeff Winder, John Brown, John Maslin, Rob Maxwell, Mark Burt, Ross Batchelor