Desert challenge for injured soldier

Private Patrick Burns, 25, of Poulton

Private Patrick Burns, 25, of Poulton

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AN injured Fylde coast paratrooper is aiming to raise £40,000 for charity in a expedition to North Africa.

Private Patrick Burns, 25, of Poulton, lost his leg below the knee after he stepped on a roadside bomb in Helmand, Afghanistan, in January last year.

He will join three other soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, to take part in a series of challenges in Morocco raising money for the Afghanistan Trust.

Pte Burns said: “Since my injury I have spent a lot of time in rehabilitation, learning to become mobile with my prosthetic leg.

“It has been hard work and frustrating, my wound took a long time to heal so I spent more time than I would have liked in a wheelchair.

“Now I am walking again and am back with my team - but this will be the first time I have travelled with them since Helmand.

“I can’t wait, I miss the camaraderie and am really looking forward to that aspect.”

The expedition will be made up of four teams who will all drive to Morocco in a convoy of specially-prepared and liveried Nissan Navaras.

Once in the wild deserts of North Africa, the teams will undergo various challenges to test their desert survival skills and ability to work as a team.

With only basic facilities and camping every night, the teams will take part in a cross-desert 4x4 navigation task, a midnight desert walk to a “safe house” and a dawn raid exercise led by members of the Parachute Regiment.

The biggest challenge of them all will be a 10-mile march to the end the trip, in the style of the iconic Parachute Regiment selection test.

Pte Burns added: “It will be hard work and the weather looks to be pretty wet while we are out there but the Afghan Trust is such a great cause.

“It offers help to the families of soldiers injured in Afghanistan,, including financial and physical support. Their work is invaluable and the trust relies on donations.”

To donate cash to the expedition visit www.justgiving.com/2012missionmorocco.