1. ITV Report

A soldier's story

Corporal Luke Simpson at the personnel recovery centre in Colchester Photo: ITV Anglia

In September 2010 Corporal Luke Simpson and his team were clearing a cluster of improvised explosive devices from a stretch of road in Afghanistan. A member of 33 Engineer Regiment which is based in Wimbish, Corporal Simpson had already spent over 6 months in Afghanistan dismantling IEDs, doing one of the most dangerous jobs in the forces.

He doesn't remember standing on the bomb, just the cloud of dust and being knocked off his feet. It was only two weeks away from the day he was due to come home.

"The first couple of months was a bit hard for me to adjust - I just thought Oh God, that's it I've lost my leg, my life's over. I knew I'd have to change things, but then with the support of your family you just get on with it and it's more exciting now, I can't wait til I'm out and set up."

– Corporal Luke Simpson
Corporal Luke Simpson (far right) in Afghanistan Credit: Luke Simpson

Corporal Simpson will shortly be leaving the army to set up his own locksmith business in Wisbech. During the latter part of his recovery he's been coming to the new personnel recovery centre at Colchester Garrison, which was opened in May. The first purpose built centre of its kind in the country, Chavasse VC House is run and funded by the charities Help the Heroes and The Royal British legion, as well as the Ministry of Defence.

At the centre, he's had career's advice, and got support from fellow soldiers who are also getting to grips with life changing injuries.

After 12 years in the army, starting civilian life is daunting, but Corporal Simpson says he and his wife are looking forward to a new challenge.

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