MORE than 240 guests at the Surrey Dolphins Swimobility Awards Gala, including the News & Mail, were privy to a breakthrough announcement on Friday when a merger with a local Armed Forces Personal Recovery Unit was unveiled.
Celebrity supporters Michael Aspel and Bobby Davro helped the event – organised by Chairman Theresa Fuoco – go swimmingly when other advocates, volunteers and clients gathered at the HG Wells Centre in Woking.
As well as many other awards, they witnessed the presentation of a special accolade to Corporal Paul Colling, who has been instrumental in recruiting volunteers from his 251 Signal Squadron to help the Dolphins at Pool in the Park.
While soldiers have been a tremendous help to the charity, the Dolphins will now in turn be giving back to ex-Army personnel. After making the announcement Cpl Colling told the News & Mail: “Swimobility has a special relationship with the PRU, helping soldiers who have critical injuries – be they mental, physical or both – get back on track.”
The PRU helps in the difficult challenge of rehabilitation and transition to civilian life, as Paul explained: “I am being medically discharged and am at the PRU in Aldershot. I have been seeking employment, while finding it hard to deal with my injuries and the fact that I have to leave the Army.
“Surrey Dolphins is making this transition a lot easier, and it will for every soldier from the PRU. When told you are unfit for further service you feel as if you are no longer needed. The Dolphins gives the soldier back that feeling of being needed, offering a positive focus, as you see how determined the swimmers are. It makes you feel part of a special family.”
The PRU are now actively looking at sending soldiers to Surrey Dolphins.