Royal tribute to Invictus Games hero who brought British partner back from brink of PTSD episode

Hannah Furness
Paul Guest and playing partner Edwin Vermetten reached the final of the wheelchair doubles - Getty Images AsiaPac

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have paid tribute to an Invictus Games hero who brought his tennis partner back from the brink of a PTSD episode by singing the song from Frozen.

The Duke's Invictus Games, held in Sydney, have awarded Edwin Vermetten, a wheelchair tennis player, the "above and beyond award" for his actions to help his British team-mate Paul Guest.

Guest was injured on duty as a mine warfare specialist in 1986, damaging his neck, spine and receiving a partial deafness and visual impairment leaving him needing 24 hour care.

Suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, he has described locking himself away in his bedroom for the best part of 10 years.

This week, he took on the wheelchair tennis challenge against a team from the USA and, at the moment of a break point, was severely affected by a helicopter flying overhead. Guest was unable to serve, visibly struggling on the court. 

The episode was triggered by a helicopter flying overhead Credit: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

An official report from the Invictus Games said his Dutch partner Edwin Vermetten "immediately saw Guest struggling and rushed from the other side of the court to comfort him.

"Vermetten grabbed his teammate by the shoulders and pulled their foreheads together in an emotional display of camaraderie.

Edwin Vermetten receives the Above and Beyond Award in Sydney Credit: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

"They remained in an embrace as they spoke to each other. The raw moment left spectators and supporters in tears."

The pair went on the win the match. 

Prince Harry congratulates Paul Guest, who was also part of Britain's wheelchair basketball team Credit: Chris Jackson/Pool Photo via AP

Vermetten layer described how Guest, who has young children, recovered after the pair sang Let It Go for a moment of levity. 

"He said, Look into my eyes and sing the ‘Frozen’ song, and we did," he said. “For him, this was the moment he let go, and he did, he literally let it all go.”

He picked up the Jaguar Land Rover Above and Beyond Award on stage at the Invictus closing ceremony, watched by the Duke and Duchess.