Chorley army veteran who was blinded and lost both legs after a bomb blast is fronting Help For Heroes' Never Say never campaign

A former soldier who defied the odds when he survived a bomb blast is now fronting a Help for Heroes campaign.

Sunday, 12th January 2020, 6:00 am
Anthony Cooper now

A former soldier who defied the odds when he survived a bomb blast is now fronting a Help for Heroes campaign.

Anthony Cooper, from Euxton, who lost both his legs above the knee and is now registered blind, after he was injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan 10 years ago is part of Help for Heroes’ new Never Say Never campaign about improving the quality of life for very seriously injured veterans.

The 32-year-old, who served with the Duke of Lancaster Regiment, was deployed to Afghanistan and in 2010, he was on foot patrol in Helmand Province when an IED went off beneath him. He was medically evacuated back to the UK and put in an induced coma. Doctors told his family not to hold out any hope, and within days, his organs began shutting down.

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Anthony Cooper in hospital with his injuries

But, despite losing his right eye in the explosion and suffering the worst brain injury the seen in 25 years, Anthony pulled through. He said: “After I got injured, I felt like I was in hell. I attempted suicide maybe four or five times. I didn’t know what else to do. “Technically, the rough patch is still going on. It will be going on for the rest of my life – what I’ve seen will always be in my head. I don’t think it’s possible to just wipe that out.”

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Anthony, who competed in wheelchair racing and archery at the Invictus Games UK Trials in Sheffield last year and has signed up for the Manchester Half Marathon in October, said: “Coming forward for support is probably the best thing you can do. I’m blind and I’ve got a head injury, but the support network through Help for Heroes is the best.”

In 2017, Help for Heroes was awarded a three-year grant of £1.5m, funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds, to directly improve the quality of life of very seriously injured veterans and their families.

Anthony Cooper whilst on duty

Phillip Hall, Very Seriously Injured (VSI) Veterans Clinical Case Manager at Help for Heroes, said: “The VSI veterans programme allows us to deliver bespoke support for our most seriously-injured veterans with life-limiting injuries, to improve the quality of life for them and their families. It’s our mission at Help for Heroes to fight for and support every single wounded veteran who needs help. For our very seriously injured veterans, that means helping them learn to feed themselves, speak again, or reduce their social isolation and get out of the house. Many of these guys were told they would never walk again, never talk again and never live independently again. But with the right support, they are defying the odds.”