Anthony's story

Blind amputee Anthony Cooper was injured whilst Serving in Afghanistan in July 2010.
Blind amputee Anthony Cooper was injured whilst Serving in Afghanistan in July 2010.

26 year old Anthony Cooper joined the Army from school in 2003 in the 1st Battalion the duke of Lancaster's Regiment. He was injured whilst Serving in Afghanistan in July 2010. He stepped on an IED which resulted in him losing both legs above the knee and severe sight loss among other injuries.

26 year old Anthony Cooper joined the Army from school in 2003 in the 1st Battalion the duke of Lancaster's Regiment. He was injured whilst Serving in Afghanistan in July 2010. He stepped on an IED which resulted in him losing both legs above the knee and severe sight loss among other injuries.

 

Anthony will be taking part in the march to the Cenotaph this Remembrance Sunday on behalf of Blind Veterans UK. He will be accompanied by Thea Davies, the partner of fallen soldier Captain Stephen Healey, who was killed in an IED explosion in May 2012. Thea has ran 415 miles from October 2012 to October 2013 in aid of Blind Veterans UK, including marathons in Paris, Bermuda and Rome.

 

Thea will be the first civilian to be part of Blind Veterans UK's contingency on Remembrance Sunday and she will be marching in memory of Captain Stephen Healey who Served with 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (Royal Welch Fusiliers) was described by His Commanding officer, Major Charles Carver, as "one of the best of his generation. Not only that he was gregarious and fun to be around - he was able to get on with anybody."

 

Captain Stephen Healey was protecting a road in the north of the Nahr-e Saraj District in Afghanistan. He and his platoon were on their way to check a canal crossing point on a gravel track when an IED exploded underneath their vehicle.

 

Driver Lce Corp Ian Lane said: "We landed down on the passenger side - everyone remained strapped in the vehicle apart from the gunner who was thrown onto the ground. It took a couple of seconds to realise what happened. I looked and saw signs of injury to Captain Healey and we went automatically into what we were trained to do - give first aid to him. But I could see the circumstances were not good."

 

Thea said: "Stephen will always be in my heart. I will miss him so much. He was my love, my life and my everything. Now he rests in peace. He was living the life he wanted to do with his men.

 

"Blind Veterans UK have invited me to attend the march with them in London. I will be the first civilian to march with the charity at the cenotaph. I will be escorting 26 year old Kingsman Anthony Cooper from the 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment who lost both legs, part of his hands and most of his sight after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2010.

 

"It's an honour and a privilege to have been invited and I will march with my head held high honouring and remembering those fallen and also those injured and scarred from war. It's such an honour."

 

On speaking about the support he has received from Blind Veterans UK, Anthony said: "Blind Veterans UK has improved my self confidence massively. After I was injured I always felt out of place, but Blind Veterans UK took me out of my comfort zone and encouraged to do new things like battlefield tours."

 

As part of the Blind Veterans UK cohort on Remembrance Sunday, Anthony will be among fellow blind veterans and will remember past and present Service men and women. Speaking about what Remembrance Sunday means to him, Anthony said: "When I take part in the march past the Cenotaph I will be thinking of my mates who died out in Afghanistan. I will be very proud to be part of the Blind Veterans UK contingent."

 

As part of the free support Anthony is receiving from Blind Veterans UK, his back garden is current undergoing major renovations so it has a layout which meets Anthony's specifications and so he can navigate the garden in his wheelchair and also practice walking on his prosthetic legs.

 

We launched the No One Alone campaign to reach out to more people like Anthony. It is estimated that there are 68,000 plus blind veterans who could be eligible for our help but are unaware of it. If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces or National Service who now suffers with sight loss (including age-related sight loss) request our free support by calling 0800 389 7979.

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