The seeds of SHRAPNEL were sown in 2009 when we were told of a young Royal Marine who had lost both legs and was trying to raise funds for a specialised wheelchair. A number of large charities had told the Marine that the provision of wheelchairs was not within their remit.
On 3rd July 2010 a group of us had gathered to remember Jonathan and celebrate his birthday, and after a few glasses of wine, someone tentatively put forward the idea of forming SHRAPNEL. Everyone was in agreement and SHRAPNEL was formed there and then.
By the evening of 4th July, SHRAPNEL had a very basic website and by the end of the week, 1000 wristbands and 8 collecting tins were on order.
The colours chosen for the wristband were grey (to reflect the metal of both shrapnel and the metal used in the construction of wheelchairs andprosthetic limbs) and dark blue (because it was agreed that it looked good with the grey.)
By Christmas the wristbands were selling like hotcakes and another 12 collecting tins had to be ordered. It was at this point that Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (based in Helensburgh, Scotland) took an interest in the charity and started to raise money.
By the end of the first year, SHRAPNEL had raised the £5,000 necessary to become a registered charity and put in an application to the Charity Commission.
SHRAPNEL was awarded registered charity status on 31/10/11.
And now here we are, 9 years later, with a brand new website and tons of enthusiasm to go with it.
We still believe in our cause and fight each day to get the help we need to keep supporting those who need our help.
We truly believe each of us can make the difference and, being a very small charity, we constantly prove that.
But additional help is always welcomed. So what are you waiting for? Make a small contribution, your help will save lives!
Jonathan Wigley was born on 5th July 1985 in Melton Mowbray. His family moved to Grantham when he was 16 months old. At a very early age, Jonathan showed signs of being a promising gymnast and also a very determined and self-disciplined person.
He attended Belton Lane primary school and afterwards, the Central School. He represented both schools in local gymnastics competitions where he always gained either first or second place. He then went on to train in Nottingham and gained a place in the East Midlands Regional Squad.
At the age of 13, Jonathan decided he would rather concentrate on his school work and gave up gymnastics permanently. He also joined 47F (Grantham) Squadron ATC. Ever one for a practical joke, Jonathan would frequently hide bricks at the bottom of his friend’s rucksacks. He loved adventure - flying with his dad, climbing and organising camping expeditions with his friends in the school holidays.
Jonathan joined the Royal Marines when he was 17 and after training, spent time with both Fleet Protection Group and 45Cdo where he was selected to be part of the elite ‘Recce Troop’. He served in Northern Ireland and undertook training in California, Norway and Senegal.
During his initial training, Jonathan suffered a number of injuries including a badly broken hand and at one point, a broken foot. Despite his injuries, Jonathan ploughed on and did not let pain get in the way of him completing a task. He was always focused and dedicated to whatever he was doing.
In October 2006 Jonathan deployed to Afghanistan. He came home for R&R in November and returned to Afghanistan on Tuesday 28th November. Ever keen to see some action, his first words on arriving back at camp were ‘Have I missed anything lads?’ Jonathan was killed by fire from an American plane on December 5th, when the pilot opened fire upon the Marines, mistaking them for the enemy.
Jonathan’s courage, dedication and tenacity made him a much loved and respected Marine and we hope to carry his memory forward through the work that SHRAPNEL does.
A good wheelchair is not cheap! Also, the seating systems within a wheelchair frequently have to be adapted or changed completely to suit the individual, depending upon the level of disability or type of injury sustained.
A good prosthetic limb starts at around £15,000 but can cost as much as £40,000. Sockets are not always included in this price and sometimes cost extra. Add to this the cost of reviews, repairs and replacements and you can see why so many of our injured troops cannot afford the mobility they deserve.
Soldiers who have suffered brain injuries may need to use a voice synthesizer while they are learning to talk again.
In addition to this, there are specialised wheelchairs available for tennis, shooting, badminton, rugby, football and a range of other sports.
The prices shown are average prices taken after consulting a number of websites. All of this equipment also has to be insured (wheelchairs require insurance similar to car insurance in case you run someone over), repaired and serviced (just like a car).
Whilst most basic and in some cases, good quality equipment is provided, our aim is to go one step beyond and provide equipment that will enable the user to be almost as active as they were before their injury; to enable them to access footpaths and beaches, to continue to take part in sport.
For many injured servicemen and women, the trauma of being injured impacts upon their mental well-being. It is a known fact that exercise releases endorphins which lead to a feeling of mental well-being.