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From injury to a bronze medal

After being being seriously wounded in Afghanistan in 2009 Nick went on to win a bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.

Nick Beighton, British Paralympian and former British Army Officer, spoke to us about Remembrance and his journey from the Army to the Paralympics... 

I remember wearing a poppy as a Beaver and parading through my home town, Shrewsbury – I must have been seven or eight. My mum has always been a big supporter and has worn a poppy for years.

I still wear one myself. It may only seem a small gesture but it is an act of Remembrance just as much as attending a parade or church service.

Nick on pre-deployment training in Kenya
Nick on pre-deployment training in Kenya

"The dad of a classmate was in the Territorial Army, and that led me to join the local Army Cadet Force when I was 13."

I must have enjoyed it because I stuck with it up to the age of 18 and reached the rank of Cadet RSM!

I left Sandhurst in 2006 and then spent a further year training to be a Troop Commander with the Royal Engineers. My first command position was in Germany in 2007, where I stayed until September 2009 – the start of my regiment’s tour on Op Herrick 11.

The plan was for me to be out in Helmand until Christmas. Five weeks into my tour, I stood on an improvised explosive device. My legs were so badly damaged that I lost them both.

“I was in Camp Bastion’s hospital within about 45 minutes, which was critical to my survival.”

You could say I was lucky because I was outside a company patrol base and only 50 metres from a helicopter landing site.

A medic was able to treat me straight after the explosion and the Chinook was called in.

They stabilised me there, and the following evening flew me back to Birmingham, where I was transferred to Selly Oak Hospital.

"Competing at the Rio Paralympics was a real joy and something I’m hugely proud of."

I know I won a bronze medal for basically paddling for 200 metres on a particular day, but it embodies much more for me.

It was something I pursued for six years, so there is relief and satisfaction that I proved something to myself. It is about attitude – that anything is possible, and you can achieve anything.

Nick receiving his bronze medal in Rio

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