Search

Invictus Games: ‘I lost dream of being soldier but found new one’ tells wounded warrior from East Village

17:15 20 August 2014

Maurillia Simpson, a former Lance Corporal in the Royal Logistics Corps, will compete in the Invictus Games.

Maurillia Simpson, a former Lance Corporal in the Royal Logistics Corps, will compete in the Invictus Games.

Archant

Becoming a soldier was Maurillia Simpson’s dream from a tender age, but one that would be cut short through injury.

The Trinidad and Tobago native's leg leg was badly broken in a car accident while stationed in Germany in June 2010. She now walks with a cane.The Trinidad and Tobago native's leg leg was badly broken in a car accident while stationed in Germany in June 2010. She now walks with a cane.

Not one sustained on the frontline as it turned out, though the Trinidad and Tobago native saw her share of the action during three tours of Iraq as a driver and communications specialist for the Royal Logistics Corps. At one point narrowly escaping death in a mortar explosion which claimed the life of a colleague.

Instead her “world ended” when she was hit by a car in June 2010 while stationed in Germany. The accident shattered her left femur, leaving her walking with a cane and suffering from painful nervous spasms.

No longer able to serve in the British Army, she was medically discharged in November last year.

“At the time I did ask myself why? I did blame myself,” she tells Parklife when we meet at the Copper Box Arena, a stone’s throw from her home in the East Village neighbourhood of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Maurillia teaches sitting voleyball to children on the Fit For Sport summer camp at the Copper Box ArenaMaurillia teaches sitting voleyball to children on the Fit For Sport summer camp at the Copper Box Arena

“I got blown up many a time in Iraq while I was on tour but I returned safe. I lost a friend in one of the contacts [with enemy fighters] but I remained alive, so I thought my dream was still active.

“Then for it to be taken away by being a victim of a road traffic 
accident – it was very hard.

“When the accident happened I really thought I was dead and my time on earth had ended, because I didn’t see myself as being anything else but a soldier, because that’s all I ever wanted to do.”

Sport became a major part of the 39-year-old’s rehabilitation both at Headley Court and then Tedworth House recovery centres, the latter run by charity Help for Heroes focuses on introducing adaptive sports to injured, wounded and sick service personnel.

It’s there Maurillia, who had been a keen sports player – regularly taking part in everything from basketball to hockey games during her seven years in the army – rediscovered some purpose in life through sport.

Such was her skill she was drafted as a reserve player for Team GB’s Paralympic sitting volleyball team for London 2012.

“For me, that was an achievement in itself,” she tells me, despite remaining on the sidelines during the Games. “To know that my life didn’t end in June 2010 – it was just the beginning.

The former Lance Corporal has since gone on to compete for Great Britain in last year’s USA Warrior Games and will now get the chance to play in front of a home crowd at the Olympic Park in September’s inaugural Invictus Games.

There the CTTV operative for the Olympic Park will compete in three events: sitting discus, sitting shotput and sitting javelin.

“To have something to turn to because I’ve lost my dream of being a soldier and to be able to turn to sport as my main focus is really astonishing,” she explains.

“It is the beginning of a new dream and something 
I never thought would happen. It’s a new life for 
me now and that is the way I see it.”

As if her personal journey didn’t serve to inspire enough, Maurillia offers some final words of encouragement to those who have suffered injury or might be going through a difficult period in their lives.

“It never ends there. If you are breathing and have that breath of life in you there is a purpose, there’s always something you can do.”

Visit invictusgames.org to find out more and to book tickets for the games, which run September 10 to 14. Click here to find out more and book tickets for the games, which run September 10 to 14.

Read more

Invictus Games: Medals designed by world’s oldest jewellers
Invictus Games: Tickets sold out for closing concert with Foo Fighters and James Blunt
Invictus Games to bring Paralympic sport back to Olympic Park next month

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 18:12
Police are investigating after an object was thrown onto a van driving on the A13

“Someone’s going to be killed.” Those were the words of a white van driver after he became the latest person to have an object, thought to be a brick, thrown onto his roof on the A13.

Metropolitan Police
Yesterday, 16:47
Staff and patients from Richard House Children's Hospice pose with former F1 world champion Niki Lauda's first car outside St Joseph's Hospice

Youngsters were able to get up close and personal with a piece of sporting history today as a car belonging to Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda showed up to deliver presents.

London
Yesterday, 15:05
Tom Odell sings‘ 'Real Love'’ at the piano [Photos: David Benett/Getty Images]

An array of A-List celebs turned up in London’s East End last night to hear pop idol Tom Odell perform his Christmas TV ad hit at the launch of ‘Manhattan island city’ development on the banks of the River Lea.

United Kingdom
Yesterday, 12:40
Custody Seargeant Raj looks in on an offender

An ashen-faced woman alleged to have slashed her partner with a 10inch serrated knife is led in by two police officers.

Ian Larnder

Most read news

From Nigel Farage to George Galloway, it’s been a year of people trying to make a change in politics.

If you’ve taken time off to escape from your boss, you’re not alone.

The judge reckons the PC did not have enough wit to invent the story.

There’s been a rise in the number of fresh shop-bought chickens contaminated with the bug since August.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition