Steven Williams admitted he was ‘stunned’ when he met Hearts captain Christophe Berra and former player and manager Gary Locke at Tynecastle during what he thought was a meeting about the Lothians Veterans Centre in Dalkeith.
Jambos fanatic Steven has been an avid fundraiser for the charity since returning home to the capital after his medical discharge from the Royal Scots in 2011.
However, the stunt was set up by the National Lottery’s ‘Big Surprise’ which honours the individuals who have made a real difference with the help of National Lottery funding and the reveal will now be broadcast to more than five million people across the country on primetime TV as part of a 90-second slot this Saturday night.
Steven, who enlisted in The Royal Scots – now known as 1SCOTS – in 2003, but suffered an injury on a training exercise in Kenya which cost him his right eye, leading to his discharge.
Upon returning to the UK, Hearts superfan Steven, 36, ran the Edinburgh Marathon in May 2012 for the Scottish War Blinded and spent time volunteering at Lothians Veterans Centre.
In 2014, Steven joined the centre as a full-time member of the team and now works as operations manager.
He said: “This isn’t a job for me, it’s something I love doing. After being medically discharged from the army I found adjusting difficult, I was referred to the Lothians Veterans Centre and started volunteering at social events. Small charities like ours make a massive difference to individuals and their families. I’m so pleased that Lothians Veterans Centre is getting the recognition it deserves.
“It means a lot to me that Gary Locke, Christophe Berra and all of the guys from the Centre have given up their time to come out here and be part of this. I’m so grateful and overwhelmed by the full thing and can’t thank the National Lottery enough.”
Steven’s ‘Big Surprise’ will air across STV and the ITV network this Saturday during the ad break in The X Factor and is one of 17 short films broadcast this year.
Bruce Smith, chief executive of the Centre, said: “Steven is the epitome of going above and beyond. He has a big heart and cares so much about his comrades who face challenges coming back into civilian life.”