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Papworth hospital mission for commando veteran

A former commando waiting for a life-saving heart transplant enjoyed a morale boosting and moving visit by members of the regiment at Royal Papworth Hospital.

Phil Hardwell and members of his former regiment at Royal Papworth (30297893)
Phil Hardwell and members of his former regiment at Royal Papworth (30297893)

Phil Hardwell served in 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery, for 12 years until June 2018, but he is now in critical care at the Cambridge hospital and on a biventricular assist device (BiVAD) which is an implantable pump designed to help the heart function better by pumping blood around the body while he waits for a transplant.

And in a special moment, the British Army and the National Health Service came together when a dozen members of the regiment drove all the way up from Plymouth to see Phil and his wife, Roxy. They presented him with a military beret, a framed army dagger and Commando Poem, and showed him video messages from other members of the regiment who could not make the trip.

A spokesperson for Royal Papworth said: “It was a powerful and inspiring moment – thank you to our amazing multidisciplinary team on critical care for making it happen. Incredible care, compassion and teamwork from our staff allowed Phil to go from his room on critical care down to our main atrium.”

Phil’s wife Roxy paid tribute to Royal Papworth’s staff who paved the way for the visit.

She said: “I really cannot put into words how grateful my husband and I are for all that the multi-disciplined team have done throughout our stay here in critical care. Having Phil’s commando brothers visit has boosted his morale tenfold. He hasn’t stopped smiling.”

George Brown, a former member of 29 Commando, added: “Well done Papworth. Our thoughts are with Phil and family at this difficult time. As an ex black eight it was great to see the flag, and the boys are brilliant.”

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