A marine from South Tyneside who was injured in Afghanistan has been given a helping hand to transform his garden.
Jason Burn has been left relying on mobility aids after his 26-year military career came to an end in 2011 when he was a victim of a mortar attack.
The father-of-three has since struggled to create a garden for his family to enjoy after moving into their new home in South Shields last year.
After hearing about his plight from the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, Artificial Grass Ltd, based in Cumbria, came to his aid.
With the help of volunteers, the company has transformed his back garden into a place which can now be enjoyed by his family – including his wife Andrea, who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Mr Burn, 45, who also suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and rarely ventured outdoors, said: “There was nothing to tempt me into the back garden here anyway. It sloped to one side and there was a giant manhole in the middle. It was a mass of weeds, undulating, patchy. You couldn’t put a blanket down or anything.
“When Artificial Grass lads turned up I couldn’t really see what they could do. But they set out and levelled the ground, added sand and hard-packed it. When they laid the artificial grass it was just transformed. What was amazing is that they did it all in one day, just a few hours’ work.
“I will always remember that day. The kids had just finished school for holidays and they came home and there was this beautiful new garden to play in. Now we use it every single day – they are out there in all weathers.”
Mr Burn, who was a Warrant Officer for the Royal Marines, added: “For anybody with the restriction of movement I have, this kind of lawn is a godsend really. There’s no mowing and only the simplest care, but it can be used all year. For me, it looks beautiful and is a peaceful place to just sit.
“It’s been massive for me mentally. Having fun with the kids in the back garden has put a smile back on my face that I’d lost.”