Private Andrew Bull in uniform circa 1983

Andrew Bull, Wounded in Action

Welsh soldier Andrew Bull returns to the Falls Road in Belfast, thirty years after he was blinded by an explosion there.

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Former soldier's round-the-UK charity scooter trek

Mark Newton on his modified mobility scooter
Mark Newton on his modified mobility scooter Credit: ITV Yorkshire

A former soldier, who is circumnavigating the country with his two cats on an 8mph electric scooter, has reached the Yorkshire coast.

Mark Newton's journey has already taken him more than 20,000 miles, after he set off from Loch Gilphead in Scotland last April.

And his epic low-speed trip has raised more than £16,000 for army charities including Help for Heroes and the SSAFA and the RNLI.

Mr Newton, who is from Swansea, retired from the Army in 1991 after he injured his leg while on duty with the UN in Cyprus.

Mark Newton
Mark Newton Credit: ITV Yorkshire

The former tank driver, who sleeps with his two cats in a small trailer pulled by his modified mobility scooter, is visiting every RNLI lifeboat house in the country.

Mr Newton and his cats, who are happy to be walked on a lead when he stops, was met at Scarborough Lifeboat station by about 75 members of the Royal British Legion riders' branch, who were in the town for an annual meeting.

He will continue driving south to Bridlington, via Filey on Wednesday. He intends to finish his journey on August 24.

Hire a Hero: helping former service personnel find work

We often hear stories about how ex-military personnel can struggle to adapt to civilian life, and many have difficulty finding a job.

Now, a charity has been set up in South Wales to help service men and women across the UK into work.

With 70 per cent unemployed a year after leaving the forces, Hire A Hero is busier than ever.

Our Business Correspondent Carole Green reports.

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Catch-up: Wales This Week, After the Fall

by Wales This Week

Watch Wales This Week, After the Fall, by clicking in the window above.

Thirty years ago a team from Wales This Week were in Northern Ireland, filming with the soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Wales, when an explosion was heard nearby.

News soon followed that private Andrew Bull, from Nant y Glo in Gwent had been caught in a bomb blast on the Falls Road, West Belfast.

Wales This Week have followed Andrew's Story for the past thirty years. Tonight, Andrew returns to the scene of the explosion and speaks to Wales this Week about his life, After the Fall.

Andrew Bull, 30 years on

by Wales This Week
Andrew Bull on a hospital bed
Andrew's injuries were extensive and critical Credit: Andrew bull

On the 23rd November 1983, a team from Wales This Week were completing their final day of filming with the soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Wales in Belfast.

As the day drew to a close, an explosion was heard which echoed through the city.

Private Andrew Bull from Nant y Glo in Gwent had been caught in a bomb blast, while on a routine patrol along the Falls Road, in the West of the city.

The explosion left him severely injured and in a critical condition.

Some months later, though blind and severely scarred, Andrew had pulled through the worst of his injuries and Wales This Week caught up with him to hear his account of what had happened that night.

Now, thirty years on, Andrew Bull returns to the Falls Road in Belfast for the first time, this time re living those near fatal moments through the eyes of his wife Nicola.

Wales This Week, After the Fall is on tonight at 8 on ITV Cymru Wales

Wales This Week, After the Fall

by Wales This Week

Thirty years ago a team from Wales This Week were in Northern Ireland, filming with the soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Wales, when an explosion was heard nearby.

News soon followed that private Andrew Bull, from Nant y Glo in Gwent had been caught in a bomb blast on the Falls Road, West Belfast.

Now, thirty years on Andrew returns to the scene of the explosion and speaks to Wales this Week about his life, After the Fall.

Wales this Week, After the Fall is on monday at 8 on ITV Cymru Wales

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Plans for expansion of army reserve forces due

The Territorial Army will be renamed the Army Reserve under reorganisation plans. Credit: PA

Plans over the growing importance of the army's reserve forces are due to be set out today by the UK Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond.

A white paper is expected to set out how the number of trained reservists will increase from 19,000 to 30,000 by 2018, as the number of regular troops is cut by 20,000 to 82,000.

There are around 2,000 Territorial Army personnel in Wales, and hundreds more TA soldiers are being recruited here each year.

Read More: Territorial Army launches recruitment drive across Wales

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What are the current terms for Army reservists?

The white paper measures being unveiled by the Defence Secretary today are expected to make it easier for Army reservists to balance their military duties with their normal jobs.

Their current conditions are as follows:

  • Expected to commit to between 19 and 27 days a year
  • Paid around £35 for each day
  • Expected to attend training in their own free time
  • Entitled to a tax-free "bounty" of up to £2,100 for meeting time quota

Read: Reservists to get £40 million of new kit

Incentives expected for reservists' employers

The white paper is expected to outline how reservists will work more closely with full-time regular members of the army.

A £42m budget will be provided for new kit and extra training for reserve forces.

It is also expected to reveal financial incentives for small firms employing reservists.

Concerns over the pressure that would be placed on employers to free up their staff for military duty have been highlighted by Wales This Week.

We are asking a heck of a lot from employers... the majority of Welsh companies are small to medium sized and they can't afford for people to go away for a long period. This will be part of the problem that will have to be solved if we want to make an effective Territorial Army in Wales.

– Col. Bob Stewart MP, former army officer

Watch: Wales This Week: From spare time to front line

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