Peter Hayward, a Captain in the Royal Welsh was seriously injured in a blast whilst on patrol in Afghanistan in 2010. Following 12 operations and months of lengthy personal rehabilitation which were often frustrating and lonely, Pete was referred to Toe in the Water, and innovative charity that works to re-inspire profoundly injured service men and women through competitive sailing.
Never having raced before in his life, Pete first joined the Toe in the Water team at Cowes Week 2010 and was immediately inspired by the opportunity to compete in one of the largest and longest-running sailing regattas in the world.
“Being back in a team environment following months of lonely individual rehabilitation is a breath of fresh air and really shows what you can achieve despite being seriously injured. Toe in the Water helped me get through some of the dark days when I was first injured,” said Pete, who, after a two year recovery, returned to Afghanistan in 2012 with his battalion as a Battle Captain.
“I am naturally a highly competitive person as well and used to play a lot of sports, but since being blown up I have been unable to compete with anyone for anything. This was quite disheartening at times, but getting out on the water and racing against able bodied professional sailors really gets my competitive spirit back and there is nothing better than beating them knowing what I and the rest of the crew have been through to get there!”
For the past 15 months, customers booking online with Monarch Airlines and Cosmos Holidays have been donating their pennies in aid of Toe in the Water and three other charities supported by The Monarch Foundation. Every week, around 1,500 donations are made via Pennies on the Monarch and Cosmos websites, adding up to valuable funds for Toe in the Water, Homeless World Cup, Home-Start UK and BBC Children in Need.
To date, over £2,500 has been raised for Toe in the Water via Pennies, supporting service-people like Pete as they make their way back from serious injury. Thanks to Toe in the Water’s help, Pete is now looking to pursue a career in sailing when he leaves the army.