Shields firm helps out disabled ex-soldier

'JUST AMAZING' ... former soldier Jason Burns with Wooden Huts's Daniel Gaffney and Bob Fowles, along with Adam Parker of South Tyne Building Supplies.
'JUST AMAZING' ... former soldier Jason Burns with Wooden Huts's Daniel Gaffney and Bob Fowles, along with Adam Parker of South Tyne Building Supplies.

A SOLDIER whose career was shattered through injury has received a helping hand from a South Tyneside firm.

Jason Burns was left relying on mobility aids after severely injuring his lower back while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2011.

After moving into his new home in South Shields – and with nowhere to store his scooter – he contacted Wooden Huts in West Walpole Street, South Shields, to see if they could help.

Hearing of his plight, owner Daniel Gaffney decided he wanted to make a gift of the shed to the 44-year-old and set about contacting various suppliers to help with the materials.

It was a gesture which has left the father-of-three overwhelmed.

Mr Burns had been serving in Operation Herrick 14 when, during a mortar raid, he slipped on roller-track flooring and hurt his back.

Chronic lower back pain and depression – later diagnosed as severe post-traumatic stress disorder – forced him to give up his career.

Now, the once-active Warrant Officer for the Royal Marines has to rely on mobility aids to get around.

Mr Burns said: “I had phoned Wooden Huts for a quote, but when they asked what it was for, they said they wanted to do it for me. It was just overwhelming. It is such a big shed. I really can’t thank Daniel and all those who 
helped make this happen enough. It is just amazing.

“I can go straight in and get my scooter in and out with ease. It has made our llives so much easier and I rely on the mobility scooter and wheelchair to give me independance.

“Daniel has been so helpful, he is even going to come back and help put up shelving.”

Daniel was helped by Brooks Brothers, who are based in Washington who donated 250 meters of framework and South Tyneside Builders who donated 30 fence boards and roof felt and 100 meters of sheet timber.

Daniel, owner of Wooden Huts, said: “When I heard his story I just wanted to do something to help.

“I really appreciate what our soldiers do for us. When I heard about his injury I wanted to do something to help, to try to make things a little easier for him. I would also like to thank the businesses who supported me in helping to make this possible for Jason.”

Wooden Huts specialises in a range of garden products, from basic wooden planters to summer houses, and everything in between.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa