A WOUNDED Blackpool soldier is hoping to defy the critics to rake in the cash for charity.
Sgt Rick Clement has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch through the streets of Blackpool – and when he is done he will auction off his prized flame for charity.
The double amputee, who lost both his legs after standing on a mine in Afghanistan back in 2010, wants to raise money for Help for Heroes and the other military charities who have helped him in his recovery.
Sgt Clement, from the 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster Regiment, said: “It will be great to carry the torch in my local area with all my family around.
“Help for Heroes helped me personally and my family after the injuries felt it was only right to give something back.”
During his recovery he spent nearly 10 months at rehabilitation unit Headley Court, using the gym and swimming pool funded by Help for Heroes to aid in his recovery, and since returning home has also joined the Band of Brothers, a support network designed to inspire, enable and support wounded service personnel.
The soldier, who lives in South Shore, is bidding to raise £100,000 to be split between Help for Heroes and three other military organisations, and hopes auctioning of his torch will help him reach his goal.
The torch will go straight on online auction site eBay after Sgt Clement, from South Shore, completes his leg of the torch relay through the resort on Friday, June 22.
Other runners have courted controversy for selling their torches for charity – with one in Cornwall attracting a fake eBay bid of more than £150,000 – but Help for Heroes has praised Sgt Clement’s decision.
Bryn Parry, co-founder and CEO of Help for Heroes, said “It is that our wounded Heroes are given the amazing opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch. By auctioning his Torch for Help for Heroes, Rick is sacrificing the memento of a lifetime to raise funds for our wounded, helping us to make a real difference to their lives.”