The Limbless Veterans Storytelling Training

It’s a bright October day with a storm rolling in on the horizon. My focus is on the four men in the room. We comment on the impending storm, then back to work. They’ve seen a lot worse.

photo by Frankie Mapes, The Drive Project

These are the men of Making Generation R, ambassadors and speakers for The Drive Project. The R stands for Resilience. The work they do? They travel the length and breadth of the country telling the story of how they got injured, and life before and after. These are ex-servicemen and women, military, marines, RAF, airforce. They are members of BLESMA: the British Limbless Ex Servicemen and women’s Association.

Everyone of them has lost a limb or two or three, or suffered extreme burns or blindness. Everyone of them has had to relearn life on new terms determined by their injury. When they tell their story they transmit ways in which they have learned resilience. When they talk of how they kept going through very dark situations, these teenagers feel an opportunity to share what they are going through, or have an idea that they might just get through whatever life is throwing at them.

My job is to make them the most effective, impactful teller of their stories that I can. Myself and the other trainers at the Drive Project work with the story and the speaker to bring it to its’ best. The work is hard, and the stories are intense and incredible.

I emerge from each piece of training exhausted. And invigorated. It gives me perspective on life and on what is possible. I pick myself up and go again.

10 thoughts on “The Limbless Veterans Storytelling Training

  • Clare you were simply amazing, teaching us ex services personnel, on the Monday I told you that I was feeling all the gesticulations and out flow was simply not for me – You told me to trust the process. By the Thursday through you and the teams professional guidance and training I was a converted man, and On the Friday you had me and 14 others up on Her Majesties Theatre stage in the west end vividly sharing our stories, Thank you for showing me a way to share my inner demons and be comfortable around strong emotion once again.

    • Dear Kevin
      You are a joy to work with, I am so looking forward to hearing how your story develops. Here’s to 2020, here’s to the power of the spoken word. I like sharing the path with you, and shining a light on those inner demons.

  • Great article, thank you. What a lovely, positive thing to be doing. I wonder if you’d be happy for me to publish your article and the link on the Douglas Bader Foundation website?

    We’re in the process of having a new website constructed but you can check out the old one (while bearing in mind that it won’t be at its best). It would be such a fitting item to be able to include as the DBF, set up following the death of Sir Douglas as a way to keep his inspiration going, is all about positivity and inspiration; the message Douglas himself used to embody and impart and what resulted in the sackfulls of letters we received when he died.

    Please let me know what you think and, if confirmatory, I’d very much appreciate information as to how you’d like me to go about this.

    In the meantime, keep up this great work.

    Thank you on behalf of all who are living with disabilities and working to support them.

  • dear Clare,
    I heard you on Word of Mouth today and was captivated. I was wondering if you have done any work in N.Ireland on the conflict and storytelling?
    have you written any books?

  • dear Clare,
    I heard you on Word of Mouth today and was captivated. I was wondering if you have done any work in N.Ireland on the conflict and storytelling? Have you heard of Healing through Remembering?
    have you written any books? With best wishes, Mary

    • Dear Mary,
      Thanks for your good words. I have not done any work yet in Northern Ireland, nor have I written any books. My work seems to keep me so busy that I have not yet had time. I will look into Healing Through Remembering, that sounds like my cup of tea!
      Hope you are well amidst these strange days.

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