ON May 29th, 2010, the life of Ribble Valley soldier Sgt Rick Clement was changed forever when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while on routine foot patrol in Afghanistan.
It was a miracle that Rick (32), who is from Chatburn, survived at all, but after two leg amputations his remarkable turnaround will continue this summer after he was selected to carry the Olympic Torch.
Rick, who was nominated for the honour through Lloyds TSB’s nationwide search, has campaigned tirelessly for injured servicemen since his return to British soil, raising money for a number of different charities.
He will be one of just 8,000 people to carry the London Olympics 2012 Torch, his moment of glory coming on June 22nd through Blackpool, where he now lives.
Rick admits it is an honour that he never thought he would receive.
“It was absolutely incredible to find out that I had been picked to carry the torch. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I just can’t wait for it,” said Rick, a former Clitheroe Royal Grammar School pupil.
“When I heard I was nominated it was a great feeling, but I didn’t for one moment think that I would be chosen.
“I’m a huge Olympics fan and to have the games in your own country is something pretty special that I will remember forever.
“I will be carrying the Torch in my wheelchair. I’ve got a manual and an electric one, but for this one it will be the electric so I can carry the torch with pride.
“It will be an incredible moment, I’ve told all my family and friends and they have all booked the day off to come and watch so I think it’s going to be pretty special.”
And, while it will be a fantastic celebration for the Clement family on the day, the sergeant, from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regi-ment, will not be missing the opportunity to promote his ongoing charity work.
“Since the injury in Afghanistan I have been campaigning for a number of charities like BLESMA working hard to raise as much money as possible and this is another great opportunity,” he added.
“I will be trying to raise money on the day because the work some of these charities do for injured servicemen is fantastic.
“I’ve already raised over £4,000 and I’ve got much more planned over the next 12 months culminating in doing a sponsored shark dive in Australia, something I have always wanted to do and I’m hoping the Torch Relay is the start of something very special.”
PLEASE LEAVE IN FINAL PARAs the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB is bringing the excitement of the Games and Olympic Flame closer to you. Find out what we’re doing in your community and who is carrying the Flame at lloydstsb.com/carrytheflame