Ipswich: Firm donates laptop to seriously injured soldier

IPSWICH: A small ray of sunshine is today beaming over a soldier who suffered devastating injuries in Afghanistan.

Private Liam King has been in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham – more than 150 miles from his home in Fitzwilliam Close, Chantry – for the past month after an horrific bomb blast in Helmand Province left him with injuries so severe doctors had to amputate both his legs at the knee.

Mum Lorraine Hutchings and stepdad Steve were desperate to find a way for him to stay in close touch with his friends and fellow soldiers, and were trying to raise money to buy him a laptop so he could communicate through Facebook, Skype or e-mail.

But software consulting firm Smart 421, based at Felaw Maltings have come forward to offer a much-needed boost to the 22-year-old’s spirits – donating a laptop so he can read for himself the messages of support that have been flooding in.

Smart 421 managing director Neil Miles said: “From our point of view, it was just an instant reaction. We wanted to support Liam because it was the right thing to do.

“It’s something we can do to help and it will hopefully make a big difference to him.

“Being a local company, a lot of our team here have lived in Ipswich for a number of years, so the important thing for us is being able to support a local individual in a difficult position.”

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Lorraine and Steve were presented with the laptop on Liam’s behalf, and will deliver it to him in hospital tomorrow.

Steve, 46, said: “It’s remarkable that they’ve done this for us and for Liam.

“He was overwhelmed when his mum told him what was going to happen.

“This way he can keep in contact with his friends through Facebook.”

Doctors have been delighted with Liam’s progress – which they say has been one of the fastest they have ever seen – and plan to discharge him as early as this weekend or next week, before he goes to the Army’s rehabilitation centre at Headley Court in Leatherhead to be fitted with prosthetic legs.

“He’s going to be really pleased with this laptop,” said Lorraine. “He can take it to Headley Court so he won’t feel too far away from all his friends.

“This will mean the world to him.”

n Would you like to pay your tribute to Liam’s bravery? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.