Father of two Danny Kitcher, 44, from Birmingham, is the 1,000th veteran to be supported into work by The Poppy Factory since the start of its Getting You Back to Work programme in 2010.
Danny said: “I served for over 12 years in the British Army with the Adjutant General Corps, as Combat HR Specialist. I was posted to lots of different units and spent time in Abingdon with 4 GS RLC, Shropshire, Northern Ireland and Cyprus with 2PWRR and Hereford with 22SAS then later in Birmingham with DSHCS, Canterbury with 5SCOTS and Gloucester with NATO Headquarters. It was different everywhere I went and I loved the variety.
“Unfortunately I broke my collar bone playing football for the Army, and the injury affected my spine. I had surgery on my shoulder and cervical spine as well as a nerve blocked injection to my lumbar spine. The injuries affected the flow of my nerves which causes severe pain, numbness and tingling as well as mobility issues. The doctors decided that because of the treatment I needed, I wouldn’t be able to stay in the Army and therefore would be medically discharged. It was very frustrating considering how energetic I’d been.
“I was honoured to be involved in the Invictus Games in USA Orlando 2016 and Canada Toronto 2017, competing in sitting volleyball and discus. We won silver medal in the sitting volleyball in both Games and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
“It was a friend of mine who introduced me to The Poppy Factory. We served together and he was medically discharged too, and we talked a lot about how we could move forward. He told me about The Poppy Factory and encouraged me to get in touch, and within a couple of days of sending an email and signing up online, an employability consultant, Becky, got back to me.
“We arranged a time to meet up and look at how I could transition into the civilian world. Becky was really helpful, working on my CV, linking me up with different opportunities and continually checking up on how I was doing.
“When I got a job at Jaguar Land Rover I was over the moon. I couldn’t believe I’d be working at a car manufacturer that’s one of the best in the world. I work in the Property Business Office as a Business Office Analyst supporting and coordinating Project Team to enable them deliver a capital projects and construction programmes that are going on within Jaguar Land Rover. It’s a great opportunity and I’m really enjoying it. I would like to thank The Poppy Factory for all the support they’ve given me.”