A British soldier who survived being shot in the head in Afghanistan has thanked all those who helped renovate his new lodgings given to him in Warwick.
Former Guardsman John Dawson was hit by a sniper in Helmand Province, leaving him with life-long injuries.
But after a grant from the Grocers Livery Company, the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick was able to renovate a flat for the wounded warrior to stay in.
The Master of the Lord Leycester Hospital, Heidi Meyer, said: “Working with BLESMA, a charity for limbless veterans, John was selected as an ideal person to occupy the flat.
“With his arrival we are truly meeting our founder Robert Dudley’s intent and our 1572 charter to provide for those ‘maimed or hurt in the wars, in the service of the Queens Majesty.’”
John was serving with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards when he went up a lookout tower in Helmand to relieve another sentry and was shot in the head.
He said: “The boys came running and started to return fire and to give me first aid.
“I was evacuated and flown to Kabul where I was operated on in a US hospital before being flown back to Brize Norton and taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
“I was in a coma for a few weeks and was then taken for rehabilitation at a military unit in Surrey where I spent the next two years, 18 months of which I couldn’t even walk. I then spent a further two years at a brain trauma unit in Nuneaton.”
Despite his ordeal, John, who has titanium plates in his head and is blind in one eye, remains extremely positive and humorous.
He added: “I was very lucky really compared with the injuries that so many servicemen suffered out there, not to mention all those who never did come back.”
Plenty of people were quick to offer their support for the renovation of the flat, including former Warwick mayor Mandy Littlejohn, deputy patrons Rosie Bragg and Janet Honnoraty, the Army Benevolent Fund, Rugby for Heroes, the 353 charity, the Grenadier Guards, Warwick Relief in Need, the Lions and Blythe Liggins Solicitors.
Leamington solicitor Nick Watts from Blythe Liggins, who gave his time for free to handle all the legal work, said: “It has been heart-warming to see so many people rallying to support John.
“He gave so much for his country and it’s wonderful that so many people wanted him to know how much they appreciated his sacrifice.”
And John expressed his gratitude for the help he has received.
He said: “People have been so kind to me and it’s wonderful to see how proud they are of our Armed Forces and to know that our military is held in such high esteem.
“I have been so lucky to get a place at the Lord Leycester Hospital where I live alongside other retired servicemen, and I am very grateful to the master and her team for all they have done for me.”