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Forces Personnel And Staff Share Headley Court Memories

Services being transferred to a state-of-the-art centre at Stanford Hall.

Almost 70 years of rehabilitating military service personnel at Headley Court is nearly at an end, with the site's Defence Rehabilitation Centre about to close its doors.

It is being replaced by the £300 million Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC), which was formally gifted to the nation last month by the Duke of Cambridge.

It will be an end of an era for many of the staff and patients who have very personal relationships with the centre.

Major Anne Vickerstaff, a senior physiotherapist and owner of one of Headley Court's pet therapy dog, said she had wanted to work at Headley Court since she was a child.

"It was my dream when I was a kid, I used to drive past the sign all the time, that I would one day work here so I'm really, really pleased that I did. It's done an amazing service."

Helen Saunders, a physiotherapist at the centre, is not moving to the new site:

"It's the end of a job I have really, really enjoyed but for everyone else who is going its going to be an incredible facility."

Commanding Officer of Headley Court is Group Captain Theresa Griffiths is looking forward to heading to the new site:

"A £300 million site is just extraordinary but more importantly its been built around what our patients need today and to provide a legacy for them for the next 50 years, which sadly as much as there's a site here that's just stunningly beautiful, unfortunately she can actually no longer deliver that."

It is not just the staff who will miss Headley Court. 

Able Seaman William Colley is undergoing rehab for a serious neurological injury he gained while on shore leave from HMS Montrose in Kenya. 

He remembers his first experience of Headley Court as "quite daunting": "[I] didn't really know what to expect but that all evaporated away within hours of being here.

"Everyone is so welcoming and there was a plan, a real structure and plan, which was good," he says.

"[They] give you X, Y, Z tools but you need to contribute towards it aswell, which is good because I think I speak for most military patients that have been through here, none of us want anything on a plate."

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