Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘Need to show injured veterans they are still worth something’

Jay Hare at Horseback UK, Aboyne
Jay Hare at Horseback UK, Aboyne

If his children ask him what happened to his face, Corporal Jay Hare tells them he had an accident with fireworks.

It is not strictly a lie. On November 5, 2008, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while on patrol in the Sangin Valley in Afghanistan during his third tour with 45 Commando Royal Marines.

The 33-year-old remembers everything about the blast – from being blown into the air to waking up in hospital in Birmingham two weeks later, certain he was still in Afghanistan.

Cpl Hare lost his left leg below the knee, his left eye and some fingers. He suffered shrapnel damage to his right arm and right knee, and has been left with severe facial scarring which he says makes him “almost unrecognisable” from before.

It was the second time he had been injured, after he suffered shrapnel wounds in a suicide bomb attack 18 months previously.

He said: “I remember going up and down in the air and not recognising the pain, but thinking ‘I’ve been blown up again'”.

The father-of-two, who is married to Lena, spent the night at Camp Bastion – the main base for UK troops in Afghanistan – before being flown back to hospital in Birmingham where he spent two weeks in an induced coma.

“My wife was talking to me when I came round, and I couldn’t figure out why she was there,” he said.

“I was telling her to cover up as she was in Muslim country. I was adamant we were still in Afghanistan.

“My brother and sister were there too. At one point, I grabbed my brother and pulled him onto the bed as there was a light flickering and I thought it was a sniper.”

He spent five weeks at the hospital, before going to a rehabilitation centre in Surrey for another few weeks. By the following May, he was back with 45 Commando in an admin role and is still a serving corporal.

His road to recovery has been a long one – helped in part by Aboyne-based charity Horseback UK.

The organisation was set up by former Marine Jock Hutchison, to help wounded veterans by using horses to improve their rehabilitation, mobility and confidence.

Mr Hutchison said: “All the guys here have been through recovery, they have been physically or mentally injured, or both.

“The medical care on the field is amazing. People make it home now who wouldn’t have 20 years ago.

“As their recovery progresses, they’re fitted with prosthetics and get in to a regime, but when they come to an end of that clinical recovery and have mastered the prosthetics, many of them are left feeling like they don’t have a purpose.

“Isolation is the greatest danger people face on the road to recovery. We’re here for that transition leg, to let the guys see they have a purpose and a reason to help other people.”

Cpl Hare was one of the first people to visit the charity, and for the last four years has been seconded there.

He has now moved his family to Deeside so he can continue his work when he becomes a civilian later this year.

He said: “On my first day here, we built a fence. Some of us had never built a fence before and we had no idea what to do, but we were back working in a team. I enjoyed the attitude of ‘for the boys, by the boys’.

“Despite our injuries, we managed to put up 30 metres (98ft) of fencing and it’s still there today. We got to sit back and see we were still part of a team and say ‘I’m worth something’ – there are jobs out there which we can do.”

TOMORROW: Find out what Horseback UK is doing to help veterans find a new livelihood

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]