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Severely-injured Afghan veteran fulfills his aim to walk for remembrance commemorations

By ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

It was a privilege to stand in the wind and rain on Blackpool seafront to witness Sergeant Rick Clement achieve his dream of walking again to honour fallen friends.

The man who was in his own words "sliced in two" by a Taliban booby trap bomb five years ago had set himself the unlikely target of placing a wreath on the Blackpool cenotaph in yesterday's Remembrance ceremony. ITV News has followed his struggle to overcome the cruellest injuries to do just that.

Rick Clement walks towards the War Memorial in Blackpool Credit: ITV News

More than anything else this achievement is down to the single-minded determination of the man. Those who watched applauded. Many shed a tear as they could see the effort and pain each step was costing him.

He is the first to admit, however, the debt he owes to others. Walking would still be a distant dream were it not for recent advances in prosthetic limbs, and some very special people.

Yesterday, many of those people were able to share his special day. The physios who have taught him to walk again, despite the loss of both legs and a hip, said moments like this were why they did their job.

Rick and his physio team practice ahead of the ceremony Credit: ITV News

The medic who saved his life immediately after the improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Afghanistan was there too. She admitted there had been times when she questioned whether it was the right thing to do, keeping young men alive when they were so terribly injured.

Rick Clement watches as his wreath is placed on Blackpool's War Memorial Credit: ITV News

Watching Rick Clement take his short walk, she was so glad she had been able to help. As I said at the start of this, standing there alongside these people was a huge privilege.

Rick with RAF medic Sgt Hayley Vendyback (left) who helped save his life Credit: ITV News