Hero Marine who lost his legs in Afghanistan will ski for UK

Hero Marine who lost his legs in Afghanistan will ski for Britain
Mar 15 2010 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo

MERSEYSIDE marine Pete Dunning was maimed in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan but is now about to compete in the Winter Paralympics. Ali Kefford reports

LANCE Corporal Pete Dunning sat in a wheelchair watching his former rugby team in action – and fought back tears of frustration.

Before he was a Marine, Pete had played semi-professionally for Chester.

After joining up he no longer had time to compete at that level but had relished representing his home town of Wallasey.

Yet now, after losing his lower legs in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan and nearly dying on a Camp Bastion operating table, all he could do was watch.

“Playing rugby is the thing I miss most. I was nearly in floods of tears watching them play,” he explains.

After so much trauma and heartbreak, Pete’s life could have easily slid into oblivion. Instead he is about to represent his country in a major international skiing championship – a discipline he took up exactly a year ago.

And last Friday (his 25th birthday) he carried the Olympic torch in the 24-hour relay as part of the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

The matter-of-fact way in which Pete tells his story belies the fact his life has been an astonishing triumph over hellish adversity.

However it’s soon obvious that parents Frank and Vera, brother Ian, 28, and girlfriend Laura – as well as his many friends in Merseyside – have all been central to his survival

Wallasey-born Pete attended St Mary’s College then worked as a trainee assistant manager at The Nelson pub before being wooed by Marine recruiters.

“I was a bit bored and wanted more of both a physical and mental challenge. I kept on seeing more and more ads for the Royal Marines and I thought ‘why not?’”

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