Saluting Invictus

Why the support for Invictus athletes is almost as inspirational as the athletes themselves.

We’ve reflected on these pages before about how often stairlifts are seen as a tool for an exclusively elderly audience. But if you saw some of the coverage of the Invictus Games in Toronto recently, you’ll have seen numerous snippets of servicemen and women who use (or used) stairlifts either as a permanent tool to help them enjoy the freedom of their homes, or as a temporary measure whilst they recovered from their injuries/got used to prosthetic limbs etc.

Prince Harry at Invictus Games in Toronto

What was inspirational was what happened once that recovery was complete. This Invictus Games was the biggest yet, with 550 competitors from 17 countries taking part in a dozen adaptive sports over eight days of competition.

As Invictus founder Price Harry said, “Time and time again, competitors from around the world tell me that sport has saved them; that the Invictus Games have given them a new lease on life.”

The current crop of Invictus athletes will, sadly, not be the last to experience lifechanging injury as a result of conflict. But watching the games, what struck us as much as the sheer guts and determination of the athletes to crack on and do something amazing, was the less-celebrated support of the people around then. Time and again, it’s families, medical teams, events organisers and more who provide the framework for injured servicemen and women to rebuild their lives.

We’re not going to pretend to have played any significant role in that – the stairlifts we’ve installed for veterans are the tiniest of cogs in the biggest of machines. But we can say we’ve seen at first hand just some of the differences the support of organisations like Invictus have made. And that’s almost as much of an inspiration as the athletes themselves.