December 13 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 7, 2013
A team of wounded soldiers were put through their paces as they prepare to join Prince Harry in a race to the South Pole.
The quartet, which includes Diss-based Duncan Slater and former Light Dragoon Guy Disney, are part of the British team in training for the South Pole Allied Challenge.
Set to take place in November, the 15 to 16-day race will see the former military personnel, who were each wounded in action, cover 335km across the Antarctic while dragging a sledge loaded with everything they need.
The challenge will see them face temperatures of minus-30 degrees celsius, a landscape of white as far as the eye can see and altitude of 4,000-metres.
In preparation for the event, which will see charity patron Prince Harry form part of the British team, they descended on Stody Hall Barns, near Melton Constable, for a training morning yesterday.
Led by Brancaster Staithe-based personal trainer Dave Green, the wounded soldiers completed a circuit which saw them run whilst dragging a car tyre, slam a medicine ball down onto the ground and catch it again, create wave motions with heavy ropes and lift weighted tubes. They did each activity for about 30 seconds before moving onto the next one.
Sgt Slater, who was told by doctors he would never walk again after he was injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2009, hopes to be the first double amputee to complete the challenge.
The 34-year-old, who served with the RAF regiment, said: “The training has been hard and it’s taken quite a lot to get really comfortable prosthetic legs but it’s a good challenge and it’s good for other amputees to see, not just military.
“It will be good if people seeing what we are doing are inspired. I don’t forget it’s taken a lot of help and support from the medics and my family to get me here, it’s not a single effort, but I am proud of myself for taking on this challenge and will be even more proud when I’ve standing on the South Pole.”
Cpt Disney, who lost the lower part of his right leg in Afghanistan in 2009 when his Spartan armoured vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade and now works for Walking with the Wounded, said: “It’s a good message to get across and hopefully people will find their own South Pole or their own Everest - it could be someone who has been bed-ridden who decides to get the post that morning. There are some that are more injured than us and they still have that get up and go. “
Other team members include Kate Philp, who lost her lower left leg in Afghanistan in 2008, and Ibrar Ali, who lost his right arm in Iraq in 2007.
The Glenfiddich-sponsored team, joined by a guide and Walking with the Wounded trustee Richard Eyre, will leave the UK on November 23.
They will be racing against a team from America and a Commonwealth team.
Funds raised from the event will go to Walking with the Wounded which helps provide specialist education and training programs for them to embark on new careers.
Ed Parker, who is from Norfolk and is the chief executive and founder of Walking with the Wounded, said: “It’s going to be challenging for them as it is for everyone else.
“Their injuries add a different angle to it and maintaining their injuries is really important but they are a very determined lot.
“They are ambassadors for the community of wounded soldiers and there are so many people who have been wounded who are mentally in a bad place. Hopefully, they will see what these guys are doing and it will inspire them to do something and hopefully go to the Walking with the Wounded website and donate.”
To find out more about challenge or to donate, go to walkingwiththewounded.org.uk.