Page last updated at 19:49 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Injured soldier stands for medal

L/Cpl Neathway
L/Cpl Neathway said he wants to return to work soon

A paratrooper who lost both legs and an arm when a bomb exploded in Afghanistan has achieved an ambition to stand to receive a medal from Prince Charles.

Lance Corporal Tom Neathway, of Worcester, who was hurt by a roadside booby trap in July, walked to a chair after being awarded his campaign medal.

The 25-year-old soldier said: "Today was a bit of a milestone for me."

More than 500 soldiers were awarded Afghanistan campaign medals at the Parachute Regiment's base in Essex.

The troops have recently returned from a six-month tour of duty in Helmand Province.

Thirteen members of the regiment were among more than 30 members of the British Armed Forces killed in Afghanistan this year.

'Back to work'

L/Cpl Neathway said he had focused on attending the ceremony during his recovery.

"One of my goals was to stand to receive the medal, then walk to the chair," he said.

"It wasn't hard to do but it was hard to be able to do. It's taken me two months of hard work - it probably should have taken longer."

The soldier said: "Now I just want to crack on. My next goal will be to get back to work."

He added: "It's no good being down in the dumps. I just live the same life as I lived before. It's just that now I'm in a wheelchair.

"I still go out at the weekend on the lash with my mates."

'Very proud'

L/Cpl Neathway, a member of 2 Para, said of the roadside bombing: "I knew how badly I was hurt. But I knew I'd be OK because my mates would get me out."

His father Alan, 57, a builder, said: "It was very emotional seeing him stand up.

"I was very proud. He's just an amazing kid."

Prince Charles, who is Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment, paid tribute to the soldiers at the ceremony.



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