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Colchester: Amputee soldier presents picnic bench he designed specifically for people with disabilities to Help for Heroes recovery centre

18:48 11 February 2014

Former soldier Alex Stringer, a triple amputee who was severely injured while serving in Afghanistan, has designed a picnic bench to accommodate wheelchairs, which has been manufactured by leading social enterprise Realise Futures, where he has been working.

Former soldier Alex Stringer, a triple amputee who was severely injured while serving in Afghanistan, has designed a picnic bench to accommodate wheelchairs, which has been manufactured by leading social enterprise Realise Futures, where he has been working.

An amputee soldier has presented a picnic bench he designed specifically for people with disabilities to a recovery centre in north Essex.

Alex Stringer, 23, lost both legs and a forearm three years ago after he set off a land mine while serving with the 23 Pioneers Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps in Afghanistan.

Now he works with social enterprise company Realise Futures, which makes recycled plastic outdoor furniture, and has designed a new picnic bench. Yesterday, he presented it to Chavasse VC House, the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, to be used by recovering armed services personnel.

Mr Stringer, who attended treatment programmes at the centre, drew on the experience of his own disability to come up with an innovative design which allows wheelchair users to easily access and sit at the bench in comfort alongside abled-bodied people.

Following the company’s tradition of naming products after the person who designed them, the bench is called The Alex Bench. It will now go into production and be part of the company’s range.

Recovery centre manager Steve Schollar said: “Alex has inspired us all with his determination to recover, and to share his experiences and challenges with others as he went through the process. The Alex Bench is an inspired piece of design that will greatly enhance the practical and social facilities at Chavasse VC House.”

Mr Stringer is now working on a new design for a potting bench for Hedley Court, a Help for Heroes rehabilitation complex in Surrey where people recovering from their injuries are able to spend time in a therapeutic garden.

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Storm Doris descended on Suffolk yesterday causing disruption, damage and travel misery for thousands.

Pianos collectively worth £50,000 are being given away to schools and community groups.

Storm Doris has caused widespread disruption across Essex.

Nearly 11 hours after it was closed, motorists are now able to use the Orwell Bridge.

Ipswich’s MP has said work must continue to provide the town with alternative routes for diverted Orwell Bridge traffic in the wake of yesterday’s closure.

Ipswich was again forced to deal with the disruption caused by an Orwell Bridge closure yesterday as Storm Doris wreaked havoc across East Anglia.

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