A FORMER British army soldier has had a life-size sculpture of himself put on display in Trafalgar Square.
Mark Lanchbery was chosen to be among the battalion of 20 statues unveiled in honour of national heroes wounded while serving for their country.
Revealed ahead of National Heroes Day, the sculptures of injured Army Forces veterans will raise funds for Help for Heroes, in association with Bell’s Whisky, which has pledged to raise £1million for the charity.
The two-dimensional figures made of clear acrylic were unveiled in tribute to those wounded in various conflicts including Afghanistan, Kosovo and Bosnia, and their aim is to maintain public awareness that people are still rebuilding their lives because of injuries caused at war.
Mark, from Hook, served 10 years in the Army, but in 2008 was injured while on active duty. He suffered serious and long-lasting spinal injuries, resulting in him being hospitalised for two months, and this was followed by eight months of rehabilitation.
The father-of-four was medically discharged in August 2011. He has since battled through disability and pain to help other servicemen and women wounded in conflicts, despite still undergoing treatment for his own injuries.
He is now a qualified counsellor, life coach and sports psychologist, showing others that there is life after being injured.
Mark was chosen to take part in the Paralympic Closing Ceremony earlier this year, riding into the stadium on a segway.
During his rehabilitation, Mark, his daughters and his partner were supported by Help for Heroes, and the statue will be a way of raising funds for the charity which helped him through his darkest days.
The statues will now be deployed on separate tours across the country to the home towns of the veterans, military establishments, schools and museums, to raise awareness of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women.
Sculptor Stuart Murdoch said: “I have so enjoyed creating the battalion – from meeting all the veterans and hearing their inspirational stories to being able to honour the subjects in the materials used to cast them. By using acrylic, we’ve created a modern take on the traditional statue – a fitting celebration of our modern-day heroes.”
Bryn Parry, co-founder and chief executive of Help for Heroes, added: “Each tells the inspiring story of the men and women who have been injured in the service of our country, and the great character they have shown in rebuilding their lives.
“Help for Heroes is all about doing your bit and the pledge by Bell’s to support us will raise much-needed funds to provide practical, direct support for the rest of their lives.”
To pledge £5 to Help for Heroes, text BELLS to 70900.