Hero fusilier Tom James was just 20 when he suffered horrific injuries including losing an arm in Afghanistan, but five years later he’s engaged.
A blinded soldier who became the symbol of British bravery when he attended a comrade’s funeral just weeks after they were both blown-up by a Taliban roadside bomb has found love.
Hero fusilier Tom James was just 20 when he suffered horrendous injuries and burns after an IED went off while he was on foot patrol in Helmand province in Afghanistan.
The hidden explosive claimed the 25-year-old’s right arm, an eye and several fingers and also broke his leg, his pelvis and left him with horrific burns.
Tom’s best friend, Fusilier Shaun Bush, 24, was killed as he tried to rescue platoon commander Sergeant Simon Valentine who also died in the attack.
Tom became a symbol of heroism when he left his hospital bed and was photographed as he was wheeled into Coventry Cathedral covered in bandages and carrying medical equipment for the funeral of his pal just five weeks after the explosion.
Tom has now re-learnt how to write, walk and dress himself, and five years on, he has got a job and is now engaged to fiancée Kellie Boyle, 29, and the couple have a one-year-old daughter Evie.
He is also a proficient golfer despite only having one arm.
Tom said: “When I got out, I thought, ‘Right, it’s time to knuckle down and get a job’.
“I applied for around 200 jobs – and they weren’t rocket science, just ordinary jobs. I got none of them. Because of my disabilities, civilian employers wouldn’t touch me.”
Tom was eventually offered a job at ‘Ride Route 66’, a charity that fundraises for injured service personnel by encouraging people to ride the iconic American road by motorbike, sometimes with an injured soldier riding pillion.
He added: “I could have just taken the dole or something, but I’m not that sort of person. Having a daughter is the best thing ever, and if I’d never been in the army, and if I hadn’t stepped on the IED, I wouldn’t have met Kelly and I wouldn’t have had Evie, so I don’t regret it for a second.”
“I’m not a hero, you just do what you have to do.”
Kellie, who plans to marry Tom in 2016, called her disabled fiancee “my hero”.
She said: “It was love at first sight. I started chatting to him and I just knew he was the one. He is so amazing, he is very brave and the way he deals with it is incredible.
“He tries to live life to the full and he is an inspiration. He is my hero.”
Culled from: Mirror.co.uk