Mary Wilson is in the running for the sporting excellence prize in the annual Soldiering On Awards.
The former army nurse, who competed for England at the Nottingham 2015 CPISRA World Games was nominated by her proud 90-year-old father, William Hepburn.
His nomination to the judging panel highlighted how Mary had overcome several setbacks in her career that prevented her from playing and enjoying sport at the level she had been used to.
Not to be deterred, she has focused her energies on empowering and inspiring other wounded and injured veterans; as well as inspiring young athletes to take part.
Mary was in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps for 20 years, reaching the rank of staff sergeant and serving in many locations including Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Belize. She was also in charge of the Field Mental Health team in Afghanistan for three months.
During her career, she was recommended for Mention in Dispatches due to an act of bravery, received the MOD People’s Award for Inspiration and the Burroughs Cup for her outstanding contribution to military mental health.
But in 2000, while attending a military horse-riding course, Mary was thrown from her horse, hitting a wall and breaking her cheekbone, two toes in her right foot and ripping her bicep muscle from her right shoulder. Four years later, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
After three operations, which left her with very limited arm movement, arthritis and constant pain, she was medically discharged in December 2012. Determined to retain her fitness, Mary trained hard and, the following year, was selected to compete in the US Warrior Games. In 2014 she participated in the inaugural Invictus Games where not only did she win five medals, but she captained the Field Team. In 2015 Mary represented Cerebral Palsy Sport England and Wales at the Nottingham 2015 CPISRA World Games and won gold. Most recently Mary won gold at the Cerebral Palsy Sport National Swimming Championships in Nottingham.
Mary said: “Sport is a medicine like no other. …. it helped me regain focus, determination and enthusiasm. It instils passion, pride, determination, friendship and comradeship and that’s what I want to pass on to others.”
Mary will find out if she has won her category at the Soldiering On Awards today at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, London. Good luck Mary!