Guest speaker at the Annual Old Swinford Hospital CCF dinner was Major Kate Philp.
Amputee Kate was the only British female member of the Walking with the Wounded team who took part in the South Pole Allied Challenge with Prince Harry in November. Three teams of wounded servicemen and women embarked upon one of the most high profile expeditions of modern times, racing 3° to the Geographic South Pole, 335 km in 16 days in average temperatures of -35 degrees.
Kate was wounded in Afghanistan in 2008 when the vehicle she was commanding was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) that killed one of her men and severely injured her. The blast shattered her lower left leg, leaving her heel and ankle with jigsaw fractures. She was evacuated to Camp Bastion and flown back to the UK for treatment at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham. In her own words, she was faced with the choice of attempting to save her leg, it being permanently stiff and enduring pain every day or to have the leg amputated “There was no choice”. After a long period of rehabilitation she returned to full-time work in the Army. With an indomitable spirit, Kate threw herself back into the job she loves.
Kate was inspired by Walking With The Wounded to give a new focus to her rehab and take on the challenge of the South Pole, both as an extreme goal for her on-going rehabilitation, and in the hope of motivating others to test their limits. As she said during her speech, she also hopes to inspire anyone who is dealing with hardship to dare to try: “better a moment of disappointment than a lifetime of regret”.
Speaking after the event, Headmaster Peter Jones said, “it was an enormous privilege and honour to have Kate join us at our Annual CCF dinner when we celebrate the success of our thriving Army and RAF sections. Kate is a remarkable lady who came across as a wonderfully caring and warm individual. Her attitude to life and the way in which she has approached the many challenges she has faced is truly inspirational.”
pic shows from left to right:
Joe Upton, Malcolm Wilcox, Kate Philp, Arun Kundi and Peter Jones