SIX weeks into his third tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009 Nathan Cumberland was caught in a blast while leading a foot patrol and lost both his legs. Since then he has dedicated his time to helping others. The war veteran who works for the Charity Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) has been given a surprise garden makeover by Alan Titchmarsh.
It was a normal day at the office for Nathan when the television presenter of “Love your Garden” poked his head around the door at Nathan’s workplace, to tell him he had been nominated for the programme that transforms gardens for deserving people.
Alan said: “We get thousands of applications and a great deal of time is spent sifting through to find the most deserving. Nathan is one of those people who says: ‘Why me, I am ordinary?’ But he is anything but. He is a great guy who does so much for other people.”
Through his work as a Welfare Officer for DMWS Nathan supports veterans and their families during times of physical and mental ill health. Having been on the receiving end of welfare support, he knows that additional help in times of crisis is invaluable to both the patients and family members. He said some of them, particularly the 90-year-olds, struggle to use the internet to find support and are more likely to accept help from someone who has experience of a fighting in a conflict themselves.
The television programme showed Nathan and his wife, Rachael, overwhelmed by the transformation of their Fernwood garden. An ITV spokesman said: “With lots of tips on how to create a beautiful woodland- themed outdoor space, Alan and his team of experts, Katie Rushworth, Frances Tophill and David Domoney had taken on Nathan’s inaccessible plot and transformed it into a show-stopping family garden — complete with a stunning outdoor kitchen, hand-built water feature and a Jurassic style play area.”
“Previously I could not really go outside but now the garden is the focal point of the house. Alan and his team have created a garden we can enjoy for years to come,“ Nathan said.
If you would like to find out more visit www.dmws.org.uk