A Fylde coast hero who lost both legs serving in Afghanistan has told how he found love with another army amputee – treated alongside him on a specialist ward.
Sgt Rick Clement and Corporal Hannah Campbell might just be Britain’s most remarkable couple.
Sgt Clement, from Marton, lost both his legs in a Taliban bomb blast in 2010 while with the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in Afghanistan.
Corporal Campbell was given just a one in 10 chance of surviving the terrible injuries she sustained in Iraq when she was buried alive in a mortar blast.
A chance message from Sgt Clement sparked their romance with the pair quickly finding out they had more in common than they might have thought.
“I never imagined we would be anything more than mates,” Sgt Clement said.
“ But I was delighted to hear back from her and we started keeping in touch. A month later I bought a copy of her book to take with me on a break to Majorca.”
Reading through the pages, Sgt Clement discovered the pair had both been patients at Selly Oak, a hospital specialising in treating military personnel who have lost limbs in combat.
Rick said: “I emailed her and said, ‘I was there!’
‘We started talking.
“The more I read and the more we talked, I realised how much we had in common.
“Our chat turned to flirting and I realised this could be something deeper than friendship.”
The couple decided to make their relationship public after Cpl Campbell - who has appeared on TV Show The Island with Bear Grylls – was spotted supporting Sgt Clement as he abseiled down The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
It was at the Headley Court rehabilitation centre, where Sgt Clement spent two years, that the two first met – although they were both married to other people at the time.
Sgt Clement said: “At Headley Court, Hannah did stand out because for a time she was the only female soldier.
“I didn’t see her in a romantic way as I was engaged to be married to Leanne, and Hannah was with her husband Jamie.
“But I do remember she was learning to walk again in high heels during one session, and I said, “Are you going out clubbing or are you off to the gym?” and everyone laughed.
“The lads were always having a joke and Hannah was involved with the banter.”
But now Sgt Clement is hoping the relationship is the start of a bright future together.
He said: “The past few years have been hard. We’ve both been blown up and had to overcome life-changing injuries.
“Yet here we are today, sharing how much we feel about each other. We are both pretty confident that this is going to last.
“Who knows what we’ll go on to achieve and do together.”