BRAVEHEART marine Matt Croucher has arranged for three wounded British troops to take part in a rehabilitation course in America.
The 24-year-old local hero is working alongside a wheelchair-user soldier who runs the ‘Deptherapy’ course in Florida.
The soldiers include Steve Hands, a former marine from Knowle, and Dominic Lovett who now lives in the Royal Star and Garter Home on Monkspath Hall Road.
Matt, who was awarded the George Cross after he threw himself on top of a booby-trapped grenade in Afghanistan, is hoping the course is a success.
“This is a fantastic course which has helped American troops to live more normal lives despite horrific injuries and I believe British servicemen deserve the same,” he said.
“We already have another trip planned in October .
“Diving has been proved to assist in rehabilitation of amputee and spinal injuries, with many specialist doctors advising this course of rehab.
“As British waters are not ideal for diving and a US Forces rehab diving centre in Florida is already established, it was seen as the best all round compromise.”
Thousands of pounds have been raised through sponsors and charities for the trip to the Florida Keys on April 29.
Virgin Airlines will pay for the flights and scuba kit manufacturers Oceanic have supplied more than £3,000 worth of equipment.
Steve Hands, aged 33, who suffered prolapsed discs in his back while fighting in the Balkans said: “I’m not expecting this to be a miracle cure but if it means I can sleep a whole night without pain then I will be delighted.”