Injured soldier opens ward at hospital that treated him

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LANCE Bombardier Ben Parkinson, the most severely injured soldier to survive the conflict in Afghanistan, has officially opened a rehabilitation ward in Yorkshire.

Hazel Ward at Tickhill Road Hospital, Doncaster, will cater for older patients who need additional rehabilitation before being allowed to return home.

Diane Dernie, the soldier’s mother, said: “Ben was so pleased to open the ward. It means so much to him. The support he received from staff at Tickhill Road Hospital was excellent. He calls them his miracle workers.”

L/Bdr Parkinson, who was awarded the MBE by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace a fortnight ago, suffered more than 40 injuries in a bomb attack in September 2006. He lost both his legs and suffered brain injuries in the blast, but has since taught himself to walk short distances again, using sticks.

During his rehabilitation, he has received a range of treatment from staff at Tickhill Road Hospital, which is run by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH).

The chairwoman of RDaSH, Madeleine Keyworth, said: “It is a great privilege to see Ben open this facility. I know he thinks a lot about our staff, and it is great to see him do the official honours.”

The service on the Hazel Ward was previously provided at St Mary’s care home and has been redesigned to provide an “integrated intermediate care service”, according to the hospital trust.

L/Bdr Parkinson was one of a group of injured veterans who took part in a gruelling trek in Norway earlier this year, which retraced the footsteps of the Second World War heroes of Telemark.