A BARRHEAD war hero has welcomed a £70,000 cash boost for a charity that provides injured veterans with free transport.

Fares4Free drives former soldiers and their families to hospital and GP appointments, rehabilitation centres, meetings and social events.

During the coronavirus lockdown, the Glasgow-based taxi charity has also been delivering prescriptions and essential supplies of food to veterans’ homes.

Fares4Free will use the grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to increase the number of drivers available to support people such as Barrhead man David Martin, who served in Afghanistan before suffering a life-threatening brain injury in 2013.

David, 37, said: “I left the Army with a brain injury and I understand how important charities like Fares4Free are to people like me, as they have helped give me my independence back.

“Over the past four years, they have given me so much support, taking me to medical appointments and even as far as the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in North Yorkshire so I could reconnect with friends from the Armed Forces.”

Fares4Free only owns two vehicles and relies on a network of taxi firms and volunteer drivers to provide additional transport.

David, then an infantryman in the British Army, was involved in a horror crash seven years ago while driving from his barracks in Inverness to an uncle’s funeral in Glasgow.

He was blinded in one eye, his speech was impacted and he was left at risk of potentially-fatal seizures.

After leaving hospital, David spent more than two years in an injury rehabilitation unit and then six months in a veterans’ residence before being moved into a council house in Giffnock and then Barrhead.

Fares4Free is among almost 260 community groups across Scotland that shared a £5.5million payout in the latest round of National Lottery grants.

Kate Still, chair of the National Lottery Community Fund Scotland, said: “As David’s story demonstrates, this work makes a real impact to people’s lives.”