Invictus Games 2018 - Scott McNeice & Alex Dewar

Two wounded athletes from North Yorkshire are among the 72-strong team of wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans selected to represent the UK at the 2018 Invictus Games.

Former Warrant Officer Alex Dewar, from Ripon, and Private Scott McNeice, of Catterick Garrison, have secured a seat on the plane to Sydney this October.

The line-up was unveiled at Horse Guards Parade in London where the Prime Minister Theresa May posed with the athletes for the first official team photograph.

Invictus Games 2018 launch - Theresa May

Following an above the knee amputation, the Games became a beacon of light for Scott McNeice on his road to recovery.

The former member of the Army Nursing Corps was determined to be strong enough to attend the trials for the competition. He says:

"I was enthralled by the personal journeys of the competitors and their ability to get through the worst of times and come out stronger." 

"There were plenty of people ready to tell me what I wouldn’t be able to do anymore.

"Taking part in the Games will help me prove to both them and myself that they are wrong and that anything is possible.

"It has already helped to start opening my mind to a brighter future."

Private Scott McNeice

38-year-old Alex Dewar, meanwhile, was medically discharged in April following a brain haemorrhage - a life-changing event that he and his family still struggle with on a daily basis.

He has had to learn all over again his capabilities and limits and to accept the resulting disabilities.

As a result, he suffers from extreme low mood and admits that, several times, he could have easily "given up".

He says sport has been his solace:

"It's an area of ability which has not been affected; an area of my life where I can still feel like the 'old' me."

He added: "Experiencing the first Invictus camp was most definitely the first time in two years that I felt accepted.

"I felt part of a team, thoroughly respected and that, for once, I could actually achieve something.

"Being part of the UK team will improve my mental wellbeing and help me focus on what I can do, not on what I can no longer do."

ALEX DEWAR

The uplift in Alex's mood and positive energy since he became involved in the Invictus Games programme has not gone unnoticed at home by his wife Ellie and four children – Liam, 16, Abbie, 13, Isabelle 12 and Will, 10.

He is still receiving speech and language therapy and hopes that his communication abilities will improve enough to enable him to seek employment.

The team will compete in 11 sports: athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming, sitting volleyball, wheelchair tennis and a new sport for 2018 - sailing.

The athletes will continue to train from now until October in various locations across the country, as part of Help for Heroes' extensive Sports Recovery programme and role in training and developing the team.

Jayne Kavanagh, of Help for Heroes and Chef de Mission for Team UK, said: "Invictus is a powerful demonstration of the dedication these men and women displayed when they served our country.

"It is a celebration of how they confronted hardship but refused to be defined by injury or illness and they all deserve the chance to proudly serve their country once more.

"They have the opportunity to not only continue their own recovery, but to inspire others with their resilience, passion, courage and optimism.

"With more hopefuls than ever before applying to be a part of the Invictus Games in Sydney, and with 64% of the 2018 Team UK being brand new to the Games, it is evident that the legacy of the Games is strong.

"We are very proud to be working alongside these 72 athletes and wish them the best of luck as they embark on their Invictus Games journeys."

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