Cardenden veteran joins UK team for Invictus Games

© SuppliedMichael with Prince Harry
Michael with Prince Harry

Fife veteran Michael Mellon has been chosen to represent the UK at the Invictus Games in Toronto.

The Cardenden father-of-three served as a senior aircraftman in the RAF before being discharged in 2005.

The 37-year-old, who trains with Pitreavie AAC and is a wheelchair rugby league player with Dundee Dragons and Team Scotland, is an amputee and has to live with depression.

He will be taking part in wheelchair basketball, shot put, discus and sitting volleyball during the event which runs from September 23 to 30.

Michael said the Games were already having a positive effect on his life after leaving the RAF.

“I feel like I’m part of a team again, it’s like I’ve never been away from the armed forces.

“I gel with the other athletes and we have loads in common.”

Games’ patron Prince Harry unveiled the 90-strong UK team of wounded, injured and sick serving military personnel and veterans on Tuesday.

The 2017 UK team captain was also named as former army major Bernie Broad, who takes over from 2016 captain David Wiseman.

Bernie lost both his legs below the knee due to injuries sustained in an explosion in Helmand Province in 2009.

The Invictus Games are empowering and inspire all of us as competitors to be the best version of ourselves,” he said.

“It allows us to be judged on what we can achieve, rather than what we can’t.”

More than 60% of this year’s team are new to the Invictus Games and were spurred on to apply after the inaugural Invictus Games in 2014 and the success of the 2016 Orlando event.

They will compete in 11 sports, including a new venture, golf.

Jayne Kavanagh of Help for Heroes and chef de mission of the UK team said it was evident the legacy of 2014 and 2016 is strong.

“In the UK team, we have 90 individuals who have displayed high levels of passion, teamwork and commitment to using sport as a tool of recovery both during and beyond the Invictus Games.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s Endeavour Fund is once again supporting the UK team, providing £50,000.

Its chairman Harry Holt said: “At the Endeavour Fund we know just how much getting involved in sport can help someone with their recovery and rehabilitation.”