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Injured marine Joe Townsend gets Eastbourne town honour

29 March 10 19:55 GMT

A Royal Marine who was badly injured when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan has received the freedom of his home town.

Joe Townsend, 21, of Pevensey, was awarded the Freedom of Eastbourne for his bravery and determination.

Mr Townsend lost one leg and the other below the knee, when he stepped on the mine while on duty in 2008.

Before the ceremony at Eastbourne Town Hall Mr Townsend said he felt "honoured" to be saluted by the town.

Eastbourne Borough councillor Colin Belsey, who proposed the award, said: "He is a remarkable young man who along with many others was willing to give his all for his country."

Mr Townsend was serving with Marines from 40 Commando in Afghanistan's Helmand Province when he was injured.

The Ratton school pupil had several operations and has also undergone rehabilitation at Headley Court in Surrey.

In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown stepped in to help Mr Townsend after councillors rejected plans for a specially-adapted bungalow for him on his grandfather's land.

A revised version of the plans was subsequently approved.

Past recipients of the Freedom of Eastbourne include Winston Churchill and war veteran Henry Allingham, who died aged 113 last year after being named the world's oldest man.

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