By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]
A brave commando from Lancashire in the UK, who had both his legs blown off in a bomb blast in Afghanistan earlier this year, spoke of his road to recovery during a holiday to the Algarve this month.
During a two-week stay in the Algarve, where his family have recently bought a holiday apartment in Lagos, Gregg Stevenson, 25, said he has enjoyed playing golf at the Pinheiros Altos course as well as using Lagos municipal gym and swimming pool facilities.
“The Portuguese staff at Lagos municipal pool were great. They were really supportive,” said Gregg.
“Brian Evans from Pinheiros Altos golf course also helped me a lot with my golf. I had been told that it was a good sport to take up and I’m really enjoying it.”
Gregg, a Green Beret commando with the 24 Engineer Regiment, also met with members of the Algarve branch of the Royal British Legion at the Hotel Garbe in Armação de Pêra on December 17 (see article on this page).
Speaking of his injuries, he told the Algarve Resident: “I was on a routine foot patrol in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan when I stepped on a land mine on March 6.
“The guys got me back safely to a helicopter and I was flown to the medical centre where they stabilised my condition to make sure I wouldn’t bleed to death.”
He was left without one leg above the knee and the other below the knee and also lost the top of his left index finger.
According to Gregg, life on the front line is similar to what he expected. “It’s very busy and active. I met lots of Americans and Estonians while out there. We all do our separate parts as nations but work for the same goal,” he said.
Within 48 hours of the incident, Gregg arrived at Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham where he spent six weeks before being transferred to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court near London, where he was fitted with prosthetic legs and taught to walk again.
“I’m staying positive and just trying to get back on with my life as normal. You have to make a decision of what you want out of life; I’m just relived to be alive,” he said.
After his trip to the Algarve, which he hopes to be the first of many, Gregg said that he is planning to work on his ongoing recovery and hopes to continue with his army career.
“I’m still undergoing rehabilitation and when the specialists feel I’m ready, we’ll have a meeting to discuss what’s next,” he said. “I will definitely go back to the front line if I’m able to.”
To find out more about soldiers who have been wounded while serving and for ways you can help, please visit the website at www.helpforheroes.org.uk