Blesma and West Ham partnership
Blesma, The Limbless Veterans is one of only around ten charities that exist today from the 18,000 that were born out of WWI.
We are the only national Service charity that supports limbless veterans for life, offering financial and emotional support to them and their families. Rehabilitation, advocacy, counselling and care are the foundations of what we do. Just as we are still caring for our World War II veterans, we also look after younger generations who have survived complex trauma injury in recent conflicts.
Over the last 5 years West Ham have supported our vital work.
We’ve been around since World War One, we’re well-established, a fantastic organisation, and even if ten per cent of the fans go away knowing who we are, that means they can give us support.Veteran Cpl. Paul Findlay
Supporting our veterans
Help us make a difference. There are several ways to show your support.
Make a one off or monthly donation today
Help us make to ensure that no limbless or wounded veteran is failed, forgotten or to left to fend for themselves.
Join us in our new and exciting Pick Your Pick Challenge and get fit in March
Join us this March in our latest exciting challenge, Pick Your Peak, which invites you to virtually scale one of four famous peaks while raising vital funds for injured veterans.
Get your company or organisation involved with Blesma
Blesma relies on the incredible generosity of its corporate partners to make a vital difference to the lifes of veterans.
Some say Pete Norton is the bravest man in Blesma. It’s not a title the modest, softly spoken man from Shrivenham accepts, but his story is a remarkable one. Not only was he awarded the George Cross for bravery on operations but because he saved American as well as British lives, he was awarded the FBI Star, the Bureau’s equivalent of the Purple Heart.
“I was an Ammunition Technical Officer in the Royal Logistic Corps,” he explains. “My job involved anything that went whoosh or bang. I completed seven tours of Northern Ireland and worked my way up to WO1 Conductor RLC before I commissioned in 2001.”
Pete was injured in Iraq in 2005. “I was second in command of a Coalition unit that was weapons intelligence; we would investigate explosions, finds of bomb making equipment, shoot downs of helicopters – it all fed into the intelligence cycle. It was like CSI Miami but on steroids, and real!”
There was also great danger. “While I was out there, I trod on a pressure pad. Underneath it were two 122mm artillery shells. Thankfully, although they exploded, they didn’t quite detonate as designed. But I lost my left leg above the knee, my left arm below the elbow, and suffered quite a lot of back injuries.”
Pete’s quick thinking immediately after the attack was lifesaving. His refusal to be treated for his imminently life-threatening injuries until everyone else was safe eventually saw Pete decorated in both the UK and USA.
“I remember everything – I was conscious throughout.
“The worst thing after the explosion for me was the fact that my team was in danger. It was a high threat area, so I was doing a one-man check around. I could see my guys coming forward, but I stopped them as I strongly suspected there were more IEDs and briefed them about what I’d done.”
After guiding them in, Pete was given life-saving treatment and put on a Black Hawk helicopter, but Pete’s rehab that followed was tough. He spent “surreal” weeks drifting in and out of a coma. And after a year in hospital and another at Headley Court, he returned to work in 2007.
Pete has kept busy with his work in the military intelligence field ever since and has even rekindled a passion thanks to Blesma. “I’ve rediscovered a love of photography. I’ve been to Mull, Anglesey, and Iceland with Blesma’s photography group, the trips are just fantastic.
“And Blesma has helped me in other ways; I was one of the first claimants of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, and Blesma guided me through that. But just as important is the work the Association does when it comes to the welfare and integration of its Members and making sure they keep active.
“Just last year, Blesma facilitated a grant to enable my wife and I to fly out to Australia for MoD funded life-changing surgery; in one operation I had my non-functional leg amputated and bilateral trans-femoral Osseointegration carried out, with the eventual aim to get back up walking after 15 years in a wheelchair.”
“Blesma truly is a great charity, with its Members needs at heart and is always there if I need support.”