Blackpool war hero Rick’s cover on shortlist for award

Rick tries out his new legs last 'December

Rick tries out his new legs last 'December

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A magazine front cover featuring Blackpool war hero Rick Clement is in line for a national award.

The photograph of Rick, who lost both his legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, was taking by rock star Bryan Adams for the Big Issue.

The Big Issue cover featuring Rick Clement which has been shortlisted for an award

The Big Issue cover featuring Rick Clement which has been shortlisted for an award

Now Rick is urging Gazette readers to vote for the cover in the PPA Awards, dubbed the magazine industry’s Oscars.

Adams, famous for hits including Everything I Do, I Do It For You, took the collection of intimate images of Rick last year for an exhibition in London.

The portraits have a personal link for Adams, whose grandfather and father were in the British Army.

Rick’s front page will be competing against magazine covers featuring stars like singer Pharrell Williams, actor Emma Watson and Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi.

Me up against Doctor Who. Is that a fair fight?

Rick Clement

“Me up against Doctor Who. Is that a fair fight?” Rick joked.

“Seriously, though, I think I’ve proved that I’m up for the challenge.”

In an interview in the latest Big Issue, Rick, who also served in Northern Ireland and Iraq during a 14-year military career, said: “I think it says a lot about Remembrance, a lot about the Armed Forces.

“This photograph means the world to me, and I think The Big Issue cover speaks to anyone that has lost someone in the Armed Forces or has been affected in their own way.

“It’s a very proud picture for me. I was still serving at the time, so I was still able to wear my mess dress.

“It was the last photograph of me wearing the uniform and basically marked the end of my army career.”

Rick, then 30, was leading a routine patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, when he stepped on a hidden Taliban bomb.

He lost both legs in the blast, as well as his ability to father children.

“They flew me back to the UK as soon as they could, with the thought that I would die back in the UK with my parents at my side,” he said.

“I was told that I did die, twice, on the plane back to the UK and they had to resuscitate me. That’s how close I came.”

Now, after being fitted with new prosthetic legs, Rick, 35, is working hard to fulfil his ambition of walking to lay a wreath at Blackpool cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.

He walked for the first time on the legs, which cost around £50,000 each, last December, using bars to keep him steady.

He hopes he will have made enough progress by November to walk by himself to the cenotaph.

Rick said: “I still don’t know if walking unaided will be possible by then, but I’d like to think some form of walking will be possible. Until I have a better idea of what I will be able to do, I don’t know what the plans will be, but I don’t want to make a big deal of it — it’s more of a personal target.”

His charity, A Soldier’s Journey, has already raised more than £200,000 for injured servicemen and women and their families.

He said: “I have no plans to stop. I would like to reach 
£1 million for starters.”

However, he still faces sessions at the Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre, in Preston, on the road to recovery.

• You can cast your vote for Rick’s front cover by visiting www.ppa.co.uk/coveroftheyear. Voting closes on Friday.