Double amputee war veteran visits West Suffolk College to talk to students

Duncan Slater with students at West Suffolk College Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE

Duncan Slater with students at West Suffolk College Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE - Credit: Archant

A former soldier who had both legs amputated following a bomb blast in Afghanistan nine years ago visited West Suffolk College to speak to students about his charity work.

Duncan Slater, who is an ambassador for charity Walking with the Wounded, spoke to business students at the Bury St Edmunds-based college last week about his experiences.

Mr Slater was on routine patrol in southern Afghanistan in 2009 when an IED exploded under his vehicle – throwing him more than 30ft into the air.

“I remember lying there thinking this is it, I am going to die,” he told students.

As a result of the blast, the soldier spent more than five months in hospital and was told he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

He said: “There was no way I was having that. I was determined to do everything in my power to prove the doctors wrong and prove to myself I could walk again. I chose to have my legs amputated.”

Mr Slater chose to turn his efforts to raising funds for the armed forces charity – which supports a pathway for vulnerable veterans to reintegrate back into society and sustain their independence.

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He was the first double amputee to race to the South Pole as part of Walking with the Wounded’s expedition team in 2013 and competed in the world’s toughest ultramarathon Des Sables across the Sahara Desert last year.

Speaking of his fundraising, Mr Slater said: “This charity is close to my heart as an injured serviceman. I have seen many veterans that were not treated as well as myself, this is a way for me to give back.”

Andy Smith, careers coach at West Suffolk College, who served alongside Mr Slater, said: “I have known Duncan for many years serving directly with him on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and seeing him at the point of injury.

“I have followed his journey and volunteering work over the years.

“I really wanted the students to recognise the character strengths that Duncan had to demonstrate in the face of adversity and how important it is to embrace your character strengths when going through life.”

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