An inspirational former soldier who recovered from life-changing leg injuries has spoken in Westminster about the charity that helped him get his life back.
Luke Wigman of Crescent Road, Selston, was serving with the Parachute Regiment on his second tour in Afghanistan in 2011 when he stepped on an undetected IED (improvised explosive device) and had his leg blown apart.
The 27-year-old said the explosive went off under his feet while he was on foot patrol in a compound in Sangin and the next thing he knew he was on the floor with sand everywhere.
He said: “I looked down and my trousers had been blown off and there was a big hole in my leg.”
After seven surgeries to repair the damage and a year in rehabilitation learning to walk again, Luke was medically discharged from the Royal Air Force (RAF) as he did not regain full use of his leg.
The RAF Benevolent Fund stepped in to help him return to civilian life and the charity funded the driving licence courses he needed to start a new career with East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).
He has also become an inspirational athlete and earlier this year risked sub-zero temperatures to finish second in the North Pole Marathon.
Luke said: “I needed the money because I was not sure how long I was going to be out of work, and the Benevolent Fund made everything easier.”
The veteran was invited to speak at the RAF Benevolent Fund reception at Westminster last week.
Luke was the featured speaker at the reception held in the State Rooms of the Speaker’s House at Westminster. The reception focused on how the RAF Benevolent Fund is helping serving personnel and their families, as well as those transitioning back to civilian life after service.
Paul Hughesdon, RAF Benevolent Fund director of welfare and policy, said: “It was an honour for us to assist Luke after his injury and we are committed to providing support to all RAF personnel who have been injured whilst serving their country.”