New chair for Afghanistan blast soldier thanks to Rotary and Shropshire furniture store

A Shropshire furniture store and a rotary club have stepped in to help provide a special chair for a former soldier who has defied doctors since he was badly injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

Bosses at Alan Ward in Shrewsbury said they were delighted to help with paying for the chair to help give Simon Vaughan, from Ercall Heath, near Newport, more independence.

Whitchurch Rotary Club had donated £500 for the Celebrity Regent Grande chair but more fundraising was needed to raise the total cost of the chair of just under £1,200.

Kathy Lesser, marketing manager, said: “Simon is confined to a wheelchair but this terrific chair we have helped to buy will make such a difference to his life.

“It has lots of features which are ideal for Simon. It can fully recline for when he is relaxing and can also lift and tilt to help him into a standing position.

“It’s electrically powered and Simon can operate it easily with the handset. “Because it comes in three different sizes we were able to find one that is ideal for his body frame and we think it will make his life much easier.”

 “Our sales consultant Nigel Merrick looked after Simon when he came into the store to look for his ideal chair and we were very pleased to be able to help him.”

George Brown, chairman of Whitchurch Rotary Club, said: “We give donations to many good causes and felt that Simon was an ideal person for us to help.”

The 29-year-old former Royal Electrical Mechanical engineer has defied doctors since he suffered devastating injuries, including brain damage and a shattered pelvis after the vehicle he was in drove over an unexploded bomb in December 2008.

Doctors had warned he might not ever be able to breathe unaided and could remain in a vegetative state.

Now, more than four years on, Mr Vaughan, is continuing with his recovering with the help of family and friends.

His aunt, Louise Welch, who does catering for the rotary club, said she had been prepared to pay for some of the chair herself but was delighted Alan Ward and the rotary club had donated the money.

Mrs Welch, of Prees, near Whitchurch, said: “I couldn’t believe how generous they were being. I was really shocked. His mum was really pleased about it.

“Simon went to see the chair and for some time after he was saying how comfy it was.”

She said the chair would allow Simon, who has a 10-year-old son, Ben, to get into a standing position.

Mrs Welch said: “Simon is really coming on. When he first came back they said he would be in a vegetative state all his life.

“But he has been just marvellous and can hold a conversation and wants to go to college to do a business course.

“We would all just like to thank Alan Ward and the rotary club so much for what they have done.”

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