Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paralympics Were Beacon of Hope, Say Forces Stars

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paralympics Were Beacon of Hope, Say Forces Stars

Article excerpt

Byline: Miranda Bryant and Mark Blundell

THE soldiers who starred in the closing ceremony for the Paralympics told how the Games were a "shining beacon" showing how to overcome adversity.

Jon Flint, Mike Goody and Dan Richards were among around 30 wounded service personnel from Help for Heroes who took part in the ceremony alongside Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z. Watched by more than 7.5 W million people on Channel 4 in Britain and a billion worldwide, they featured in an opening scene, Raising of the Flag, dedicated to Britain's Armed Forces.

Some helped to design the flagpole climbed by Capt Luke Sinnott to unfurl the Union flag.

Former Royal Marine lance corporal Jon Flit, 37, from West Sussex, rode a Segway with his dog representing Help for Heroes and Canine Partners.

He said: "It's a shining beacon that people can come back from adversity. Injured servicemen coming back from it and winning gold medals for ParalympicsGB.

Hopefully it will continue to inspire people."

L/Cpl Mike Goody, 27, from West Sussex, said: "I loved it. To be part of it was humbling, I had nerves and excitement beforehand but as we walked out I felt stunned by the crowd. It's brilliant that we were involved and they asked Help for Heroes to take part."

The RAF soldier suffered from depression and post traumatic stress disorder after losing his lower left leg in Afghanistan in 2008. He said the charity helped "pick me out of the darkness". He now helps other injured soldiers through Help for Heroes' scheme Battle Back.

Dan Richards, 27, of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, said walking into the stadium was "like shellshock".

The lance bombardier, who was injured in Afghanistan in a motorcycle accident, said: "It was absolutely unbelievable.

We saw Rihanna, Jay-Z and Coldplay warming up. It's definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. …

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