Colchester: Injured soldier wins fight against meningitis

AN INJURED soldier who is recovering from meningitis has been moved to a specialist military hospital after contracting an infection.

Sapper Ashley Hall, 20, who lost both of his legs in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan last year, was rushed to Colchester General Hospital last week.

He was complaining of headaches and bright lights hurting his eyes – which are both key symptoms of the condition.

Ashley, a former student of St Benedict’s College, in Colchester, then contracted another infection, which is yet to be diagnosed. He discharged himself on Friday and is now being treated in the military ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham.

Despite these setbacks, brave Ashley – who lives in Stratford St Mary – is still hoping to be well enough to turn the first turf for the building of a new centre for injured servicemen, at Colchester Garrison, on Friday.

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His father, Stephen Hall, said: “Ashley wanted to go to Birmingham because the doctors there know him and are familiar with his injuries.”

He added: “We are now waiting on the hospital’s test results, which are due today.

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“Then we will see what the new infection is, and how serious it is.”

Ashley’s brother Matthew, 18, was also taken to Colchester General Hospital with meningitis last week, but he has now been discharged by doctors and is recovering at home.

“Ashley is extremely fed up with being in hospital, but his spirits are up and he hopes to be out soon,” added his father.

“Help for Heroes has asked Ashley to turn the first turf for the new rehabilitation centre, at Merville Barracks, in Colchester, and he wants to be able to make it.

“At the moment, we are just taking everything one day at a time. We’ll have to see what happens when the test results come back.”

The Personnel Recovery Centre – the first in the country – will be built at the Colchester Garrison.

It is hoped that the new facility will be completed – ready to provide specialist services for wounded soldiers – by the end of the year.

The centre, which will have room for up to 20 full-time residents and 40 day visitors, is being funded by Help for Heroes.

It will be run jointly by the Royal British Legion and the Army.

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