At the beginning of March, we had Andy Reid come into our St. Helens Restart offices to tell us his story. Andy’s story of defying the odds after becoming a triple amputee struck a chord with the Restart team who work to help individuals back to work after prolonged periods of time.

Growing up Andy always wanted to be involved in the army in some way, and to follow his grandfather’s footsteps. At the age of 21 he achieved this goal and joined the British Armed Forces. After just over a decade of being deployed in England, Ireland, Canada and Germany, Andy volunteered to go to Afghanistan (aged 33). In October 2009, whilst on a routine morning patrol with his team, Corporal Andy Reid stood on an improvised explosive device (IED). The explosion resulted in him losing the majority of both of his legs, and his right arm.  

He was flown back to Birmingham hospital and spent the next 3 days in critical care. However, Andy astounded his doctors with his recovery by spending only 2 weeks in hospital before he was ready to make his first visit back home. On top of this, he also set the goal of being able to propose on one knee to his partner Claire without any assistance, and to then be able to walk on his wedding day.

Andy won The Sun’s Military Award for Overcoming Adversity in 2010. Soon after, him and Claire tied the knot in 2011, after Andy proposed on one knee by himself. The two then went on to have two children.

Furthermore, since the incident Andy has taken on 2 skydives, ran the St. Helen’s 10km Run, abseiled down the Big One, took on the Warrior Challenge in 2017 and then completed several challenges in 2019 to mark the 10-year anniversary of his injury.

Andy’s autobiography ‘Standing Tall: The Inspirational Story of a True British Hero’ was published in 2013. In the last few years, Andy has established the Standing Tall Foundation, a charity that works with businesses to create stable jobs for people going through tough times, enabling them to move forward and thrive. He’s helped raise over £50,000 and has taken almost 20 families (who had been affected in a similar way) to Lapland for Christmas. In June 2019, he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for voluntary service to veterans and to those with disabilities in St. Helens.

Andy is a huge credit to himself and has become a motivational speaker, working with some of the UK’s leading companies. His incredible story is one that has a lasting effect on anyone that hears it. He is a great example that despite his life-changing injuries, he has still been able to achieve a colossal amount and has taken this opportunity to benefit the lives of others.

Andy’s story demonstrates what an individual is capable of with an incredible amount of determination, echoing the journey of Restart participants as they re-enter the workforce after an extended period of unemployment. Participants receive advice and guidance from a dedicated advisor and access to local vacancies. Commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, The Growth Company delivers the Restart Scheme in the Northwest on behalf of G4S, the lead provider for this region.