Sale's Sevens Diary - Heroes for Life
20 May, 2011
|Digicel Fiji 7s team manager, Sale Sorovaki. |
Today was a very busy day for the sevens team. We started off with our daily devotion and then pool before breakfast. The team had a training session at the Imperial College grounds before we went to visit Headly Court.
Headly Court is a Rehabilitation Hospital for soldiers who suffer injuries from the war. We had the opportunity to be taken there by Derek Derenalagi who himself is one of the many former patients of Headly Court. He calls himself “Qase ni Bure” of Headly Court.
There were a lot of soldiers who are admitted at the rehab centre undergoing physiotherapy and other rehab programmes. There were also a few Fijian boys who were also there, including England 7s rep Isoa Damu, and all of them were very excited to see us.
Damu is currently a frequent visitor to Headly Court as he has just undergone shoulder reconstruction surgery. Unfortunately for England, he won’t be taking part this weekend.
We were taken around the hospital by the staff of this great hospital. It is amazing to see the amount of care and money put in by the Ministry of Defence into this institution. It is solely for injured British Army soldiers and this place looks after them - nursing their injuries and, in some cases, psychologically helping them overcome their injuries. There were many loss of limbs injuries and to see the delight in these soldiers faces is something I’m sure the boys will talk about for a while.
We presented a signed Digicel jersey to Lieutenant-Colonel Gareth Thomas before we sang a song. The soldiers clapped along as we sang and we knew we had made their day by taking the time out to visit this hospital. No other teams have been invited to go there and we felt honoured and humbled to have been there. They hosted us to lunch and we came back to training feeling a lot more appreciative of life.
Derek is a great Ambassador for Heroes for Life which is a programme that is set up for soldiers who suffer injuries and given another chance at life. He has been with us ever since we arrived on Tuesday. He drives his own car which is amazing. He is so full of energy and the team is proud of him as a fellow Fijian, a soldier and most of all a fellow human being.
Derek now speaks at charities and functions and, along with his bubbly character, is a fine example of soldiers coming through the Headly Court Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre.
We are looking forward to taking on Portugal tomorrow and our lineup is:
Dale Tonawai (capt), Sakenasa Aca, Watisoni Votu, Nikola Matawalu, Metuisela Talebula, Mitieli Nacagilevu, David Batiratu.
Moce mada. View photos of the team at the England and Scotland 7s on Fiji Rugby's facebook page.
Sale's Sevens Diary - the Management Meeting - 19 May, 2011
Sale's Sevens Diary - 30 hours of travel - 18 May, 2011