A Fylde soldier who lost both his legs in a bomb blast has revealed he is nearing his goal of walking unaided thanks to new technology.
Sgt Rick Clement, 34, from South Shore, was seriously injured after stepping on an explosive in Afghanistan in 2010.
The soldier, part of the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster Regiment, suffered horrific wounds in the incident, but has battled back to health and is now testing new equipment to continue his bid to walk.
The Gazette reported in December Sgt Clement was being fitted with two specialist knees at a cost of more than £100,000.
After weeks of trials Sgt Clement said a knee has been ordered for his right leg – with a prototype model being designed for the left side of his body.
He added: “We trialled a couple of different types of knee.
“On my right leg we have decided the Genium knee will be the best one. We have ordered that – it will take four to six weeks to come.
“For the left side we will have to trial something from a few components. We have already tried another knee.
“We have done different trials but wanted to get the right hand side sorted first as that is the easy part.”
The heroic soldier took his first steps before Christmas thanks to the knees designed by German prosthetics company Ottobock, a firm set up in response to the large number of injured veterans from the First World War.
He has continued working twice a week at the Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre in Preston under the guidance of Dr Fergus Jepson, improving his core muscles to help support his stance.
He added: “I travel over to Preston every Monday and Wednesday.
“Some of the work involves stretching – I am sat down a lot of the time in the wheelchair so it helps my muscles as I can get stiff. The gym is a specialist one and helps me to lift weights.
“I’ll have to use crutches but I want to walk unaided – that is the goal. It is just too early to tell. We will get a better understanding of the long-term progression when I start using the new knee.”
Since retiring from the Army, Sgt Clement has raised more than £100,000 for his charity A Soldier’s Journey and is organising a boxing night in June for amateur fighters at the Pleasure Beach.
For more information about the event go to a-soldiers-journey.co.uk