Flintshire mum: "The day I learned my son was shot"

Reporter:

Lois Hough

A MOTHER who has raised thousands of pounds for wounded troops has recalled the chilling moment she learned her own son had been shot in Afghanistan.

Debbie Gittins, 44, from Mold, has raised more than £4,000 for the charity Help for Heroes since her son Josh, 19, joined the army two years ago.

Josh, a private in the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, was shot in the knee while on patrol in Helmand Province in May.

Debbie, who works behind the bar at the Ex-Servicemen’s club on Wrexham Road, expected the worst when she had a knock at her door.

She told the Leader: “I just panicked when I saw those army chiefs on my doorstep.

“You just expect the worst. They told me he had been shot in the back of the knee and that they would be in touch with more information.

“He had only been out there for five weeks. I just wanted to be with him.”

After an operation at Camp Bastion, Josh was flown to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham where he had seven operations to reconstruct his knee.

Debbie said: “It did a lot of damage and the doctors said there was a 70 per cent chance he would lose his leg.

“He is getting round on his crutches now but is still on painkillers. He still doesn’t get much movement from his foot and not much feeling either. Doctors still don’t know the full damage it has done to his artery.”

Debbie was full of praise for the professionals who cared for her son. She added: “The aftercare they do for you is tremendous.

“We were driven down to Birmingham to stay with Josh and they even put us up in a hotel.

“We were always well-informed. You don’t get to see that side of the army until something like this happens.”

Josh will go to Headley Court Military Hospital in Surrey later this month to receive further treatment.

Undeterred by his injury, the youngster can’t wait to get back to work.

Debbie said: “He’s fed up of sitting at home and doing nothing.

“He wants to go back out there because that’s where all his mates are but I doubt it will be on this tour.

“His thoughts are with the friends he has lost and those who are still out there in Afghanistan.”

Debbie, who has another son, Tom, 21, is planning an evening of prize bingo as her latest fundraiser for Help for Heroes and is appealing to local businesses to donate
prizes.

Call Debbie on 01352 752 819 to donate.

See full story in the Leader

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