A Falkirk veteran took to the slopes of ultra-posh Klosters for a confidence-boosting trip of a lifetime and a special guest appearance from a royal favourite.
Brian Young (41) joined his brothers-in-arms for the week-long Skiing With Heroes excursion at the Swiss resort and enjoyed a life-changing experience.
Now back home in Thornbridge Road, the former Argyll and Sutherland Highlander said: “Being in large crowds is still a problem for me, but skiing is a new skill I have learned and the experience gave me a real confidence boost.
“I also got to hear some inspirational stories from my veteran friends.”
A member of Band of Brothers, part of UK service charity Help for Heroes, Brian applied to go on new charity Skiing With Heroes first skiing trip to Klosters, a huge undertaking involving a large contingent of specialist instructors and equipment, physiotherapists and medical support.
Brian said: “I never thought I would be picked to go, but I was, along with 15 other veterans, some who had lost limbs and one guy, Craig, who was totally blind. He was ex-King’s Regiment and he learned how to ski when he was there.”
Brian is now fully recovered after receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy for male breast cancer - a disease which forced the reservist to sign off active duty. However, he admits to still having nightmares about some aspects of his eight years in the service.
“I went to Klosters never having been on skis before and in the space of a week I went from total beginner to a downhill racer. Everyone was split into their own skill levels and given a skiing buddy - young people who had raised around £1000 for Skiing With Heroes to come along on the Klosters trip.
“Their help proved invaluable throughout the week and the charity itself couldn’t have done any more for us. They were wonderful, even though this is the first year they have done it.
“Hopefully they will be able to built on this and get more guys out there next year.”
The icing on the cake was a surprise visit from Prince Charles, who happened to be in town at the same time Skiing With Heroes was hitting the slopes.
“One of the Skiing With Heroes organisers knows him,” said Brian, “She gave him a call and he came along as we were getting ready to go skiing. We were told to hang on for 30 minutes and then he came in and took the time to talk to us.
“He was really quite funny - a lovely man.”
Security guard Brian admitted he has now been well and truly bitten by the skiing bug, but snow-based exploits will have to wait while he and fiancée Pamela Graham (43) head for warmer climes to take full advantage of another stroke of luck which came along earlier this year.
The couple are planning to get married in November and will be honeymooning in Australia after winning a pair of return tickets to the country in a pub prize draw.
Skiing With Heroes will be opening Klosters trip applications for March 2014 later this year.
Visit www.skiingforheroes.com for more information.