A veteran from Halifax has won an Endeavour Fund Award in recognition of his scuba-diving achievements, at a ceremony attended by Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle.
Ben Lee, who was hit by an IED in Afghanistan in 2011 resulting in life-changing injuries, attended the Endeavour Fund Awards Ceremony held at Goldsmiths' Hall in London, where he was presented with the Recognising Achievement Award.
Ben said: "I would like to say a massive thank you to the Endeavour Fund for honouring me with such an amazing award and an evening I will never forget. I am forever grateful.
"The award means a lot for me and my peers coming through the Deptherapy programme.
"It shows that any of us in a physically or mentally demanding position can overcome fears and crack on with what we need to do.
"It shows that we can combat our own fears and be able to take on other challenges, and maybe help someone else who may be struggling through their own challenges.
"I am so humbled that I received this award tonight alongside so many other touching stories and achievements from the community of wounded, injured and sick veterans."
Ben served with the Royal Engineers and was part of a team that searched for and disposed of IEDs in Afghanistan. He was hit by an IED in 2011, resulting in the loss of both legs as well as damage to his hand and arm, a broken back, shattered pelvis and hearing loss.
He was put in touch with Deptherapy by a fellow wounded veteran. Deptherapy runs specially adapted scuba diving programmes for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, however, having had a near-death experience in water as a child, Ben had to overcome his fears.
With the help of the Deptherapy team, Ben's ongoing development in sport has included his qualification as a PADI Wreck Diver, commitment to his Rescue Course and progress towards becoming a Divemaster.
The Endeavour Fund Awards are held annually to celebrate the achievements of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women who have taken part in remarkable sporting and adventure challenges to help with their recovery.
Prince Harry and Ms. Markle attended the ceremony to meet the inspiring winners and nominees, as well as participants and supporters of the Endeavour Fund.
The ceremony was presented by explorer and former Parachute Regiment Officer Levison Wood, who was announced this week as the first ambassador for the Endeavour Fund.
The Endeavour Fund is a project led by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The fund plays an important role in ensuring that more service personnel and veterans have the opportunity to rediscover their self-belief and fighting spirit through physical challenges.
Open to all those injured during service, but specifically hoping to target the harder to reach veterans, The Endeavour Fund supports activities that contribute to the participants’ physical, psychological and social recovery.
Many of these initiatives also provide wide-reaching impacts beyond the sporting achievement, for example through mentorship, qualifications and work opportunities.
The Recognising Achievement Award is awarded to the individual who has best used their endeavour experience to promote and catalyse their recovery.
Since its launch in 2012, the Endeavour Fund has supported 66 different projects that have directly assisted over 2,265 wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. Through their own fundraising, these endeavours have collectively raised over £2.5million for other forces charities.