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.
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.
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.