Injured servicemen special guests at Bath Rugby base
Wounded soldiers are being given a morale boost as they recover in a new partnership with Bath Rugby.
Residents at a Help for Heroes centre in south Wiltshire have visited the club's base at Farleigh Hungerford to watch a training session and have lunch with players.
The Tedworth House recovery centre at Tidworth aims to help injured servicemen and women live independently.
The servicemen enjoyed a tour of Farleigh House and watched the first team being put through their paces by head coach Gary Gold and his coaching team in a training session, before enjoying lunch together.
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It was the first in a series of planned visits between the two organisations, following an initial trip to Tedworth House by Bath Rugby academy director Danny Grewcock and ex-Bath player and onetime England captain Lewis Moody in the summer.
Tedworth House aims to provide state-of-the-art facilities for wounded troops to recover from their injuries in a relaxed, understanding and caring environment. Staff ensure that there is support for the successful transition of wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans either back into the military or to civilian life.
Grewcock, who has been instrumental in organising the partnership, said: "The group of residents at Tedworth are hugely inspiring. They have overcome life-changing physical and psychological issues and are now looking forward and working incredibly hard to achieve new goals. As individuals and as a team, there is a great deal we can learn from these guys, and we're looking forward to developing the partnership further."
Over the coming months, more wounded soldiers will visit Farleigh, with groups of Bath players going to Tedworth House in return.
The residents have also been invited to Bath's Amlin Challenge Cup match against Italian side Calvisano this weekend.
One of them, Corporal Steven Ashcroft said: "As a rugby coach myself, it's been incredible to come to Bath Rugby and see behind the scenes of the game at such a high level. Sport has been instrumental in the recovery process, so I think it's great Help for Heroes and Bath Rugby are building this link."