An amputee archer who dreams of competing for Great Britain at the Paralympic Games says he ‘incredibly grateful’ after receiving a grant towards a new bow.
We stepped in to help Plymouth based Paul Stocker after hearing about his bid to participate in the 2024 Games.
Having served as a Communications Operator and a Medic in the Royal Navy, Paul has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder following the loss of his arm and leaving the military.
Yet his recovery has been boosted after taking up archery nine months ago.
Bu the missing link was some financial support to enable him to buy new equipment required to compete at the top level.
The British Limbless Association and the Royal Navy Benevolent Trust both contributed before we helped make up the funding deficit.
Paul said: “When I found out that LiveWest had given me the grant to buy a new bow, you’ve never seen somebody smile so much in all of your life. I am incredibly grateful.
“It is an amazing piece of kit and will hopefully help me to the next level.
“Without LiveWest I wouldn’t have this bow and wouldn’t part of the GB Paralympic team.
“The fact that they were prepared to give me the benefit of the doubt to help with my recovery made me feel special.
“It’s great that my housing association have not only housed me but is helping me to realise my dreams.”
Paul turned to wheelchair sports after leaving the forces and his natural flair for archery quickly shone through.
Now he has set twin targets to win gold at the Warrior Games, Texas, in September and to qualify for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.
Paul added: “You have to set your sights high.
“The 2024 Paralympic Games gives me something to set my sights on and four years to hone my craft.
“I will be going for gold as well in the Warrior Games which I am really looking forward to.
“Archery has given me a social life as well. I’m now with other veterans and I’m now able to talk.
“I am now totally independent and this is saving my life.
“I have a tattoo now that says there is ability in disability.
“I’ve got chronic PTSD but when I’ve got that bow in my hand the only think I’m looking at is straight down the range at the target.
“Every arrow I release part of my PTSD goes with it. I hope this gives other guys the incentive to reach out.”
As the largest housing association in the South West, we award hundreds of grants to our customers every year under the Resident Opportunity Fund banner.
It is designed to help customers achieve their potential by accessing training, overcome barriers to work of education or play a more active role in their local community.
Grants and Social Value Manager at LiveWest, Tim Wotton, said: “It has been a pleasure to help Paul.
“One of the things that really hit me when I looked at his application was how Paul has turned his life around after the trauma of losing his arm and being unable to do the job he trained in for over 20 years.
“Here was someone with passion and desire to improve and be the best he can possibly be.
“What Paul is doing is fantastic and we are committed to support as many of our customers as possible to achieve their goals through our resident grants.
“Paul is a great example of how small grants support people to achieve life goals. Not everyone is a potential Olympian, but we have helped LiveWest customers start up new businesses, get into training, attend university or in a wide range of other ways.
“People can easily get in touch and tell us what their barriers are so we can see if we can help by visiting our website or emailing email@example.com.”