War hero Rick Clement aims to help beat trauma

Rick Clements
Rick Clements

A war hero who lost both his legs in an horrific bomb blast in Afghanistan wants to help other veterans suffering from mental health problems.

Sgt Rick Clement, who lives in South Shore, was left unable to walk or father children following the explosion in Helmand Province five years ago.

We hope to be able to share coping methods and lots of other information with people

Following long months of recovery, 35-year-old Rick set up his charity – A Soldier’s Journey – to raise fund for other injured servicemen and women.

Now he wants to offer ex-personnel help to overcome trauma suffered as a result of serving on the frontline.

The charity is aiming to put on educational talks in Blackpool for people left with post traumatic stress disorder or depression as a result of their service.

He said: “The talks will show how your brain works and what causes the feelings of trauma and depression.

“We hope to be able to share coping methods and lots of other information with people.

“There will be refreshments and it will be a good chance for others in a similar situation to meet.”

Rick suffered his terrible injuries while leading a foot patrol in May 2010 with the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

He stood on a crudely-made Taliban Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and was almost fatally wounded.

He lost both legs and almost lost his right arm as well as suffering extensive internal injuries.

After hours of surgery, doctors told him he was lucky to be alive.

Since then, Rick has moved to Blackpool, been both married and divorced, retired from the Army after 16 years of service, and campaigned for the Ministry of Defence to introduce a system allowing soldiers to provide sperm samples before going to war zones, so they are still able to have children should the worst happen.

Rick said the talks would be free and would be held in a Blackpool area, to be confirmed.

In December Rick took his first steps on a pair of hi-tech £100,000 artificial legs at the Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre in Preston.

Now he has set himself the goal of walking unaided to lay a wreath at Blackpool’s cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.

Rick said: “It’s a long time before I will be properly walking.

“My prosthetics have had to be adapted around 10 to 15 times. That in itself has taken some time.

“I’m excited for what I will be doing in 12 months’ time.”

His new legs were designed by German prosthetics company Ottobock, a firm set up in response to the large number of injured veterans from the First World War.

The ‘Genium’ legs use a microprocessor to walk upstairs, move backwards and pivot.