A veteran from Surbiton who suffered brain injuries while serving in Iraq has been nominated for a prestigious armed forces award.

Stephen Vause was just 19 and serving with the 4th Battalion The Rifles on his first tour of Iraq when a mortar explosion near Basra left him with brain injuries and fighting for his life.

Now a resident at the Royal Star and Garter (RSG) veterans' care home in Surbiton, 34-year-old Stephen, who is considered "one of UK’s most seriously injured veterans" continues to inspire those around him.

As such, he was nominated for a prestigious Soldiering On Award in the 'Inspiration' category, with public voting still ongoing on the awards until Sunday (August 22).

Stephen was nominated in part thanks to his incredible fundraising efforts.

For example, during the second Covid lockdown, he undertook a gruelling 60-mile virtual London to Brighton cycle ride from his room, and with the help of staff at the Upper Brighton Road care home, he completed the challenge on his adapted static bike in six weeks, raising more than £5,000 for Help for Heroes.

Back in 2018, when his sister raised money for RSG by taking part in the Tough Mudder challenge, he supported her by undertaking his own challenges, including lifting weights, sit-ups and hand-eye coordination tasks.

And during the first Covid lockdown, Stephen introduced the sport of Boccia to the Surbiton home, where he worked with staff to help run sessions for other veterans with disabilities.

"If I win this award it will mean a lot to me knowing that the hard work paid off. I’m proud to be shortlisted. Please vote for me," Stephen said on finding out he had been nominated.

Needless to say, all his friends at RSG and beyond are rooting for him too, among them Joy Jones from Help for Heroes: "It’s fantastic news that Steve’s fundraising efforts have been recognised. He is an absolute inspiration and we can’t thank him enough for supporting us with his epic challenge. He shows us all the incredible things you can achieve when you put your mind to it," she said.

Click here to vote for Stephen or find out more about the Soldiering On Awards and the nominees.