Ex-soldier embarks on new mission with charity’s help

The Oxford Times: David Colman at Caterham F1 David Colman at Caterham F1

AFTER being medically discharged from the Army two years ago, Lance Corporal David Colman thought he would never work again.

But thanks to a Wantage-based charity, he says life has never been better after getting a job with a Formula 1 racing team. Mr Colman, who was in 4 Regiment, 4 Squadron, Royal Logistic Corps, based at Abingdon’s Dalton Barracks, was deployed to Afghanistan.

But in August 2007, while serving in Helmand Province, he became ill. The following year he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and was medically discharged.

After returning to the UK, and moving to Didcot, he had four operations at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital to remove his large bowel.

He feared he would never work again but an employment consultant put him in touch with a new charity. Mission Motorsport aims to aid the recovery and rehabilitation of servicemen and women through motorsport.

Now Mr Colman works full-time at Caterham F1 just outside Witney, and life has never been better, although he still has health problems and will need more operations in the future.

The 29-year-old who lives in Great Western Park with wife Ruth, 28, said: “Although I have been desperate to get back into work, it has been an uphill struggle and will continue to be challenging.

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“The range of jobs that I can do is so limited, but the people at Caterham have been fantastic, giving me exceptional training in a completely new field and the opportunity to prove that I was still worth investing in.

“Without Mission Motorsport and Caterham F1, I would still be stuck at home, feeling hopeless and struggling to find employment.

“While nothing can change what I have been through and I will never lead a normal life, this opportunity is the first time in six and half years I can truly say that I believe my future is positive.”

Starting with a work placement at Caterham, Mr Colman now works as a vehicle livery technician, applying stripes and decals to cars.

Caterham HR adviser Alex Bond said: “This scheme with Mission Motorsport was introduced as one of our corporate social responsibility projects, but it is now a regular part of our recruitment.

“With increasingly tight budgets, the partnership has offered cost effective, innovative headcount solutions and an opportunity for the service personnel to develop in a high-skilled environment.”

He added: “Service personnel have extremely positive attitudes to work and act as an inspiration to employees which can have a positive effect on morale.”

Mission Motorsport was founded in 2012 by former soldier and motorsport enthusiast James Cameron, and moved to Faringdon Road, Wantage, last year.

It has helped more than 320 servicemen find employment in motorsport.

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