Dave’s new challenge

Hero: Dave Watson taking part in the Paralympic torch relay
Hero: Dave Watson taking part in the Paralympic torch relay
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Injured war hero, Dave Watson will pay tribute to his former comrades this Sunday as the city comes together to remember fallen heroes.

The 26-year-old Guardsman, who lost both legs and his stringer right arm in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, will lay a wreath at Preston’s cenotaph following a parade on Novemember 11.

Dave, who recently marked his 26th birthday with a 250-mile bike ride, said; “I will be laying the wreath for my regiment just like I did at the service last year.

“I have lost mates in the conflicts so it is a real honour to do it.”

Starting at the Covered Market, Service men and women will march to the Flag Market via Lancaster Road, Church Street and Cheapside, meeting up with the Mayoral party at the Cenotaph in time for the service at 10.30am.

The Scots Guards soldier recently moved into a specially adapted bungalow in Wordsworth Place, Walton-le-Dale, with his parents, Kevin and Angela, and, though he has prosthetic limbs, complications have meant Dave has had to use his wheelchair more.

He said; “I can’t walk on my legs at the minute so I will be having an operation just before Christmas to try and fix the problem.

“There is an air pocket in one of my stumps between the muscle and the bone so when I try to walk on it the bone grinds making it really quite painful.

“Also the skin underneath my arm keeps splitting so I’ll be having a skin graft on that.”

And despite the set back with his legs, Dave is remaining upbeat about the procedure and says he is lucky that this is the first time he has been back in hospital since his accident.

“Some people are in and out of hospital and touchwood all has been well with me up until now.

“I’ve been down to Birmingham to the Queen Elizabeth hospital where I’ll have the operation and spoke to the surgeons; one has worked on me before so he knows all about my situation.

“Hopefully all will go well.”

Dave was among a group of 30 limbless veterans from both sides of the Atlantic who joined forces for the bikeride to show that being disabled does not mean being disempowered.

The Soldier Ride UK Challenge started at Sandringham on October 6 and finished on Thursday at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, London, passing through Cromer, Great Yarmouth, Southwold, Ipswich, Colchester and Southend-on-Sea.

It was the first time Dave, who recently carried the Paralympic flame and the Olympic torch, had ridden a bike in the UK, and, alongside training to fulfil his dream of competing in the 2016 Paralympic Games, he is hoping to do more.