Stuart Hughes and Sir Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford.

United launch landmine awareness film

Wednesday 15 August 2018 14:54

Manchester United and Find A Better Way, a landmine charity founded by club legend Sir Bobby Charlton, have today launched a film to raise awareness of the devastating effects of landmines across the world.

In the short film, Senior World Affairs Producer Stuart Hughes shares his story of working across the globe with BBC News where in 2003, whilst on assignment in northern Iraq, he triggered an anti-personnel landmine. The blast blew off his right heel and just days later Stuart’s right leg was amputated below the knee.

With over 110 million active landmines globally and nine people killed or maimed by landmines every day, Stuart’s story is just one of many examples of the devastation caused by landmines. Research suggests that it would cost an estimated £20 billion and take over 1,000 years to clear all of the active landmines using current technologies.

Find A Better Way was founded in 2011 by Sir Bobby Charlton, who whilst visiting a minefield in Cambodia, saw first-hand the humanitarian damage which landmines continue to cause in war torn areas both past and present. The former United and England forward felt that there had to be a more efficient way of negating the effects of mines and improving safety and security for local communities whose lives are blighted from them.

The charity is opening a series of Sir Bobby Charlton Centres for Support and Rehabilitation around the world to help victims suffering from both physical and mental trauma. The first centre was opened in Amman, Jordan in August 2017 and is equipped with excellent physiotherapy facilities and experienced practitioners, plus an art-therapy programme designed especially for children coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Commenting on his support for the charity, Stuart Hughes said: "Landmines and other explosive remnants of war are far more damaging to communities around the world than many people realise. Find A Better Way, guided by Sir Bobby's vision, focus on the long term impact of these weapons. I know from my own experience that even with the best medical care available, the recovery process can be long and difficult – they really understand that, which is why I’m proud to support them.”

Find A Better Way CEO Lou McGrath commented: "It has been my pleasure to have known Stuart for several years, and I am delighted he has been involved in this project. His first-hand experience makes him an obvious spokesperson for the issue of explosive remnants of war, but his ability to explain the issue so clearly and powerfully is what makes the film so special. I know I speak for Sir Bobby when I say we are very proud to count him as a friend of Find A Better Way."