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Last Updated: Monday, 24 March 2008, 11:23 GMT
Iraq blast officer completes race
Major David Bradley, 39, (left) from Tidworth team mate Stephen Vinall (right)
The pair completed the 125 mile race in 27.5 hours
An army officer seriously injured in Iraq has completed a 125-mile (201km) overnight canoe race.

Major David Bradley, 39, completed the 60th annual Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race in 27.5 hours.

Together with Steve Vinall, he raised more than 11,000 for Help for Heroes, a charity supporting service people wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The father-of-two from Tidworth was given a 5% chance of survival after being hit by rocket-powered grenades.

I'm heading home for the longest, hottest bath imaginable
Major David Bradley

He was injured while rescuing colleagues in Basra in 2004.

The Princess of Wales Royal Regiment soldier survived, but lost the sight in his right eye and part of his right shoulder and hand.

Major Bradley set off from Devizes, Wiltshire, at 1600 GMT on Saturday, arriving at Westminster, London, at 1930 GMT on Sunday.

Speaking after completing the race he said: "I feel tired but extremely satisfied. The hardest thing was the weather.

"I'm heading home for the longest, hottest bath imaginable."

As well as the cold, paddlers faced a head wind on the Thames over the last 20 miles (32km).

'Fundraising target'

Major Bradley added: "That really sapped the energy but we got through it. My hand and shoulder started to smart a bit.

"The target for this was to raise 12,000 and last time I looked on my fundraising website it was on 11,000."

The charity is currently trying to raise 6m to build a swimming pool and new gym complex at Headley Court tri-service rehabilitation centre in Surrey, where Major Bradley spent six months regaining the use of his right arm.

More than 550 canoeists competed in what has been described as one of the toughest endurance events in the UK.

Competitors were warned by organisers that bad weather could make the race even more challenging than normal.



SEE ALSO
Canoeists braced for bad weather
21 Mar 08 |  Wiltshire
Canoe race celebrates 60th year
17 Mar 08 |  Wiltshire

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