Invictus

Serve On International Response Team member Pete Dunning has been chosen to represent the UK at the Invictus Games in Sydney.

 Serve On International Response Team volunteer Pete Dunning who has been selected to represent the UK at the Invictus Games

Serve On International Response Team volunteer Pete Dunning who has been selected to represent the UK at the Invictus Games

Pete, who is a Serve On Ambassador, will compete in athletics and wheelchair rugby.

He is one of only 72 wounded, injured and sick veterans and service personnel who will head Down Under this October – the smallest team the UK has sent to the Invictus Games.

They came together for the first time this morning at Horse Guards Parade in London to be congratulated by Prime Minister Theresa May and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Prince Harry and fiancée Meghan Markle had watched competitors at the Invictus Games trials.

 Pete Dunning and other members of the UK Invictus Games team gather in Londons's Horseguards Parade with Prime Minister Theresa May

Pete Dunning and other members of the UK Invictus Games team gather in Londons's Horseguards Parade with Prime Minister Theresa May

Former Royal Marine Pete, who lost both legs when the vehicle he was in was hit by an IED in Afghanistan, is no stranger to competing for his country, having won multiple medals with the British Disabled Ski Team following his life-changing injuries.

He is no stranger to tough selection either, having made it into the Royal Marine Commandos, and having more recently passed the tough assessment course to be a Serve On International Response Team rescue technician.

He was chosen for the Invictus Games from 451 who applied.

Almost two-thirds of the team are new to the Invictus Games and the rigorous selection process for Team UK was based on the benefit the Invictus Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with performance and commitment to training.

 Serve On Ambassador Pete Dunning addressing guests, including fellow ambassador Joanna Lumley, at a recent fund-raising dinner.

Serve On Ambassador Pete Dunning addressing guests, including fellow ambassador Joanna Lumley, at a recent fund-raising dinner.

The team will compete in 11 sports: athletics; archery; wheelchair basketball; cycling; powerlifting; indoor rowing; wheelchair rugby; swimming, sitting volleyball, wheelchair tennis and a new sport for 2018, sailing.

The 2018 UK Team Captain, former Royal Signals Corporal Mark ‘Dot’ Perkins, said the Games were ‘all about empowerment’.

He said: “They empower us all to fight the chains of physical disability, to fight the intangible burden of mental illness and they empower us to focus on being the best we can be despite the scars that we all now wear.

“Whilst participating in the games our scars are like medals that we can proudly display rather than hide in shame or embarrassment.”

Pete messaged Serve On colleagues yesterday morning to tell them: “I can finally tell people that I have been selected for the Invictus Games squad. Chuffed to bits I am!!”