Disabled veteran to compete in Highland Games

A Sunderland army veteran, who survived a terrifying 800ft fall when his parachute failed to open, will be one of the athletes at the Mey Highland Games on August 3.

By Tony Gillan
Friday, 26 July, 2019, 11:30

Jim Holborn is a part of a Help for Heroes team of wounded, injured and sick veterans and serving personnel at the games, held at John O’Groats and featuring the traditional caber toss, hammer throw and shot putt.

Jim, 38, joined the Army after leaving school and served with the Parachute Regiment before transferring to the Royal Logistic Corps.

He snapped all the ligaments and tendons in his left ankle in the 2002 accident. After learning to walk again he was deployed to Iraq, after which he suffered PTSD. He struggled to adjust to civilian life, until he sought support from Help for Heroes.

Jim is excited about the games, saying: “My ancestors are descended from the Hay clan, originally from Kirkaldie.

“The Highland Games is a massive Scottish tradition and taking part in one is on my bucket list.”

The former Redhouse School pupil is also full of praise for Help for Heroes.

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He added: “The first time I walked through the door of Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick my life started again.

“I’ve always had a brilliant support network from my partner Jennifer and my children. But they are not specialists.

“If I could go back in time I wouldn’t change anything. If I hadn’t been injured I don’t think I would be as happy with my life as I am now.

“I want to show my two sons, Callan and Jude, that no matter how low you get, you can move forward with your life. I never want them to have any regrets later in life.”

This is the second time that disabled athletes have been included within a traditional Highland Games in Scotland. The first time was in 2018 at the suggestion of Prince Charles.

Since then, the Scottish Highland Games Association has asked Help for Heroes to be involved again to achieve more inclusivity.