Chorley war hero set for 100km challenge

LIVING LIFE TO THE FULL: Anthony Cooper prepares for the trek.

LIVING LIFE TO THE FULL: Anthony Cooper prepares for the trek.

First published in News

A war veteran, who was blinded and lost both his legs after stepping on a mine while serving in Afghanistan is training to tackle a gruelling 100 kilometre trek.

Having joined the Army from school in 2003, Kingsman Anthony Cooper was serving with the 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in 2010 when the explosion happened.

Immediately flown back to the UK for treatment, Anthony, known by his nickname ‘Coops’, lost both of his legs above the knee, two fingers, other finger tips and badly damaged his left forearm.

Despite the severity of his injuries, Anthony, now 26, remains positive.

Wanting to live life to the full, he has just started training for a mammoth trek in aid of Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind ex-service men and women.

And he has also been rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous after working as an extra in a new film.

Anthony, who lives in Chorley, will walk part of the strenuous 100k London to Brighton walk in a relay team, taking part with other blind veteran members of the charity on the prosthetic legs he is still only just getting to grips with.

He said: “I'm going to tackle the walk because I see it as a challenge and I enjoy a good challenge. Doing this in a relay team with other blind veterans will also make me feel like part of a team again.

“If someone had said to me two years ago I would be signing up for this I would have laughed, but after all the hard work of getting up on legs again, here I am getting ready to do it. It makes me feel alive and ready for the challenges ahead.”

Anthony has already enjoyed a glamorous month after attending the film premiere of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit in London’s Leicester Square. He had worked on the film for two days as an extra as the story required people attending rehab. At the premiere Anthony met many stars, including Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley.

Blind Veterans UK is currently developing his back garden with a new layout, so that he can fully access it in his wheelchair and practise walking on his prosthetic legs.

The charity still has places for the walk on Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22.

Visit: www.walk100.org.uk.

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