Diss: Amputee Sgt Duncan Slater chosen to join South Pole trek with Prince Harry
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A WOUNDED soldier has spoken of his shock at hearing he will become the first double amputee to ski to the South Pole after being selected as part of a team that will be joined on its adventure by Prince Harry.
Sgt Duncan Slater, from Diss, has been chosen as one of four wounded British servicemen and women who will take on teams from the US and the Commonwealth in the Walking with the Wounded charity race to the South Pole in November.
And the team was given an extra boost on Friday when the prince, an Army pilot who has served in Afghanistan, announced he would join them on their 208-mile trek.
Sgt Slater said: “It is massive because Prince Harry is the patron of the charity as well.
“There are a lot of patrons of charities who are mainly figureheads for their organisations, but I suppose what Harry is doing is a bit like putting your money where your mouth is.”
In March, the 34-year-old joined six injured servicemen and women for a week’s training in Iceland where they hoped to be selected for the South Pole team, with two missing out.
The Icelandic camp was designed to help them acclimatise to the conditions they would face in Antarctica and they camped out on the glacial ice, using melted ice for water each morning and night and eating freeze-dried rations. He said: “It was a shock, really, because obviously six went out and they were going to drop two from the team.”
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Since then, he has been training by walking long distances between Diss and Norwich, which he said helped to strengthen his back and legs.
He was told by doctors that he would never walk again after being injured by a roadside bomb in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan where he served with the RAF regiment.
After his injury in 2009, Sgt Slater spent a year in a wheelchair before doctors told him he would need to have his legs amputated.
However, within six weeks Sgt Slater was making strides on his new prosthetic limbs.
The charity funds the re-training and re-education of wounded servicemen and women to help them find long-term employment after they have left the forces.