Veterans from the North East head to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games

Veterans from the North East are heading to the Netherlands today to take part in the Invictus Games.

The seven day event begins in The Hague on Saturday after two years of delay due to Covid.

Denise Kidger from Hebburn is among several injured service men and women from our region taking part.

After being medically discharged with anxiety, depressive disorder and PTSD, as well as physical injuries to her knee and back, she will compete in the discuss.

Denise says taking part in the Invictus UK Trials in Sheffield in 2019 was a huge step forward but her confidence in her own ability was still low.

She said: "It helped me forget about the things that I struggle with every day and regain my 'can-do' attitude. It felt like being in the military again, only better.

“There was no judgment, only encouragement, support, laughter and togetherness.”

Denise believes her 'can do' attitude will help her succeed

When the country went into lockdown in 2020, Denise was recovering from Covid but stuck to a training plan which she says boosted her self-confidence.

Denise also dislocated her shoulder earlier this year but believes her 'can do' attitude will help her succeed.

She said: "At first, I did not think I was worthy of being chosen for the Invictus UK team but I've really pushed myself and I'm proud of what I've achieved.

"As well as being supported by Help for Heroes for many years I also I've also been helped by and now got a job with Finchdale Group which also helps veterans and serving personnel move on with their lives when they leave the military.

"I took ownership of my recovery, faced my fears and had the courage to move on with my life. It has taken time, but I now realise that I do deserve a place on the Invictus UK Team, I am a valued team member."

What are the Invictus Games?

The Invictus Games are a multi-sport event where injured or sick service men and women compete.

The games were started in 2014 by Prince Harry in order to encourage the use of sport to inspire recovery and support rehabilitation amongst veterans.

The games are also a celebration of how veterans confront hardship and refused to be defined by their injury or illness.

The 2022 games will include more than 500 participants that will compete across ten events:

  • Athletics

  • Weightlifting

  • Hand archery

  • Indoor rowing

  • Land Rover Driving Challenge

  • Wheelchair basketball

  • Wheelchair rugby

  • Cycling

  • Sitting volleyball

  • Swimming