A FUN night out in support of a good cause is the vision of a soldier supporting comrades who lost limbs in Afghanistan.
Private Anthony Hyland, 26, of Great Sutton, served with 2 Mercian in Afghanistan from last October until April during a tour in which two men were killed, three lost legs and four were shot.
Now Private Hyland, who witnessed one comrade lose both legs, has organised a dinner dance at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Chester on Friday, August 24.
Tickets, priced £35, are in aid of Help for Heroes who support the Headley Court rehabilitation facilities in Surrey.
Anthony said: “It’s a chance for people to enjoy a night out and get suited and booted. There will be great entertainment and you can enjoy yourself and perhaps treat your partner while showing support for the lads who have been injured.”
He suggests local firms book a table for a staff night out and take the opportunity to promote the business at the event if they wish.
As well as a three-course meal, a comedian and live music, there will be an opportunity to speak to some of the soldiers from 2 Mercian about their experiences.
Anthony recalls witnessing the aftermath of an explosion caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) which left fellow soldier Ryan Goodman, then aged 19, lose his legs and part of his left hand.
“We were crossing a ditch. I was with the rear multiple and the lad was in the front multiple. He must have misread the reader and got blown up.”
Anthony went to Ryan’s aid prior to him being evacuated by helicopter.
“I was thinking ‘don’t look at his legs’, but it was the first thing I did,” explained Anthony, who then had to lead the men back to the check-point, all the time fearing another IED or an ambush.
Anthony said Ryan had been learning to walk again at Headley Court with the use of prosthetic limbs and will be able to drive again in a specially adapted car.
“He’s doing really, really well,” added Anthony, who has already raised more than £2,000 for Help for Heroes by charity bag-packing at Asda with his mum Cheryl and completing a 200-mile sponsored ‘cycle’ at Total Fitness in Chester – he is to cycle across Mexico for the same cause.
His girlfriend Stacey Morrison, 28, from Christleton, said: “I’m proud of Anthony for putting all this together. He’s been very determined throughout the whole time. Hopefully he’s going to raise a lot of money.”
Auction prizes on the evening include a luxury stay at the Crowne Plaza Chester, gym memberships at Crowne Plaza and Total Fitness, spa packages, vouchers for paintballing, restaurants and jewellery and a flying lesson.
Tickets for the dinner dance are available from Crowne Plaza Chester, Total Fitness Chester, Scotts menswear, Dave Miller cycle shop and Outpost paint-balling. For details, email email@example.com.