A HERO soldier has spoken of his heartache after splitting with his wife of less than two years.
Sgt Rick Clements, who suffered horrific injuries in a bomb blast while on a tour in Afghanistan in May 2010, said he and wife Leanne remained friends despite their marriage breaking down.
The 33-year-old moved to Blackpool after meeting Leanne, who has two children from a previous relationship, on Facebook in 2008.
After Rick was injured, Leanne stayed by his side and the couple married at Mains Hall in Singleton on June 4 2011.
But the pressures of coping with his injuries, which mean Rick cannot have children, were too difficult to overcome.
He said: “There were various pressures but my injuries were a big part of it.
“But without a doubt, after I was first injured it would have been a lot more difficult for me without Leanne and her love and support at that time is something I will always thank her for.
“We had gone from being a very happy, active couple, dreaming of a long future together to a relationship more like being brother and sister.
“She has moved out of the home we shared, but there is no animosity and we talk at least once a week, if not more.
“I see her and her children.”
Rick, who lives in South Shore, set up his own charity A Soldier’s Journey and last year carried the Olympic Torch through Blackpool.
He added: “It was because of meeting Leanne that I moved to Blackpool, and I intend to stay here as I love the place.
“I have had tremendous support here.”
‘There were pressures but my injuries were a big part’
Rick was serving in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.
On May 27 that year he was leading a foot patrol in Helmand province when he stepped on a mine.
He lost both legs, suffered terrible internal injuries and was told he could never have children.
Rick, who had been in the army for 15 years, received around £58,000 from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and has since raised thousands of pounds for charity.