WHEN Prince Harry announced the names of the team members selected to represent the UK at the 2020 Invictus Games, one East Lancashire lad couldn't contain his joy.

Tom O’Brien, who is originally from Great Harwood, will compete alongside 64 other wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans at the competition in The Hague, Netherlands, next May.

Mr O'Brien, who now lives in Heywood, Greater Manchester, said: "I’m absolutely over the moon to be selected for the Invictus Games as it has come at the right point in my journey.

"It will give me drive and focus for the next six months and, after that, it will be an amazing springboard for me to take my sporting life to the next level.”

The former St Wulstan's Primary School pupil has competed in other sporting challenges with Help for Heroes, including the Warrior Games in 2018 and Mey Highland Games in 2019, and in 2020 will be competing in powerlifting, indoor rowing and athletics (shot put and discus).

After signing up to the army aged 17, the married dad-of-three served for six years with the Scots Guards involving deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 31-year-old has battled with post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss and arthritis as a result of his time in the forces and credits sport as an important part of his recovery.

He added: "It’s hard to describe what my life was like before and even harder for others to imagine.

"I spent three years after Afghanistan descending further into misery.

"Aggression was all I could ever muster and destroyed everything around me – my home and the trust of my family."

After being hospitalised and spending the next two-and-a-half years heavily medicated, Mr O'Brien was introduced to the Invictus Games by a former army colleague.

He said: "I now have drive and focus, I have rebuilt friendships with old comrades and have made new friends.

"My health and fitness are returning, which I thought had gone forever. Sports recovery continues to be vital to my health and wellbeing."