IT would have broken most people.
But war hero Andy Reid, who lost both his legs and his right arm in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, is not “most people”.
Three years ago, while on patrol with 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, Corporal Reid stood on a pressure plate improvised explosive device (IED).
As a result of the explosion, he lost his right leg below the knee, left leg above the knee, and right arm.
But, after being flown back to the UK, Andy astounded friends and family with his inspirational recovery - spending just two weeks in hospital.
Now, the 36-year-old, who is set to become a father in six weeks, is set to relive the moment that changed his life forever in a major new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum North.
“I don’t find it difficult to talk about anymore,” he said. “In fact, I think it has helped me getting it all out in the open.
“Even though I didn’t feel any pain at the time, I knew something violent had just happened. I looked across and one of my fingers was hanging off, so I kind of kept hold of that. I thought I’m not losing that as well, keep that.
“Now, if I can help someone else who needs a bit of motivation - for whatever reason - then that can only be a good thing.
“It’s not just people who are injured in the forces that can benefit. Most of us suffer injury or illness or a lack of motivation at some point in our lives.
“In my opinion, you’ve got tackle things head on. The way I see my situation is ‘I’m still here’. I’m the lucky one. Some people don’t make it back.”
Andy, of Windle, served for 15 years with 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment prior to his injury in October 2009 and, although he is now a triple amputee, he still lives life to the full.
He now keeps himself busy as an inspirational speaker, working with schools and young offenders to show them that, with the right attitude, anything is possible.
He is also a regular fundraiser for ABF The Soldier’s Charity.
Andy, who tied the knot with sweetheart Claire last September, is set to tell his incredible story of recovery and rehabilitation in a special talk next month as part of a major new exhibition at the IWM North in Manchester.
He added: “The hardest part of the rehabilitation was learning to walk again. But I was determined to walk down the aisle at our wedding and enjoy our first dance as husband and wife.
“That was one of the goals I set myself. I didn’t want to get married until I had managed to do that.”
IWM North opened its free exhibition - Saving Lives: Frontline Medicine in a Century of Conflict - at the weekend.
Told through the words and objects of people who have faced extraordinary situations, it reveals the life-changing decisions made every day by the medics and soldiers in Afghanistan - as well as remarkable stories of people caught in harm’s way over the last 100 years of conflict.
Graham Boxer, Director of IWM North, said: “War and medicine are contradictory. One damages and ends people’s lives; the other seeks to find ways to save lives. Yet the challenges of war have contributed to some of the most incredible medical developments of the last hundred years.
“This must-see exhibition unveils the people who have faced incredible circumstances with bravery, innovation and resilience.”
Andy Reid, joined by members of the Defence Medical Services, will tell his story from 7pm-8.30pm on Thursday, November 15.
Places are free to book, but to guarantee a place, e-mail: email@example.com
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Weather for St Helens
Thursday 20 June 2013
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