Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Soldier from Leeds dedicates award to fallen friends

Sgt Luke Cunningham
Sgt Luke Cunningham came under fire as he tried to help his comrades

A soldier from Leeds who received a bravery award for his actions in Afghanistan has dedicated the honour to his friends who have died.

Sgt Luke Cunningham, 29, came under small arms fire as he helped a Gurkha platoon in Helmand last March.

Sgt Cunningham said of his fallen friends: "This is a recognition of all their efforts."

He was given the award by Prince Charles who was visiting troops at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

The Certificate of Commendation praised the soldier's "selfless and gallant" actions under fire and for placing himself in "enormous danger" as he saved three colleagues and gave first aid to an injured comrade.

Sgt Cunningham said: "It means everything to me. It's a huge privilege.

The Prince of Wales meets soldiers at Catterick Garrison
Prince Charles met soldiers at Catterick Garrison

"There were lots of ups and downs on that tour and I lost a few mates. This is a recognition of all their efforts.

"It's not just me, it's all the other guys."

At Catterick, Prince Charles visited three regiments for which he is Colonel-in-Chief.

He saw troops from the Mercian Regiment and 9 Army Air Corps, both of which are being deployed to Afghanistan next month, and soldiers from the Queen's Dragoon Guards, which Sgt Cunningham was attached to at the time of his bravery.

When asked what the prince said to him, Sgt Cunningham told reporters: "He said Leeds breeds a lot of hard men and I concurred."

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