A sergeant that was injured in Afghanistan recently had the opportunity to attend the recent Canaries match to be honoured for his sacrifice. Duncan Slater was the special guest of the team and was invited to sit pitch side by the team. The team and the fans applauded him as he was introduced and it was a heartwarming scene for everyone that was in attendance.
It was before the start of the game that Slater made his appearance before the throngs of supporters when the Norwich City Canaries were set to vie against the West Bromwich Albion at Carrow Road. He carried the official match ball onto the pitch prior to the commencement of the Premiership game.
Sargeant Slater is from Scole and he is considered to be a local hero due to his selfless service for his country. A road side bomb took out him and his vehicle in Afghanistan in 2009 and as a result his injuries cost the serviceman both of his legs. Slater is 34 years old and has garnered a modicum of fame in the area and is considered to be the pride of the area. He became the first double amputee to make the severe trek to the South Pole with a group of other injured service personnel which included Prince Harry.
Slater had had to undergo a deeply emotional journey in his recovery following the event that took his limbs. His patrol vehicle was taken out by a makeshift explosive device that was detonated by a rebel. The sergeant was born in Inverness Scotland and is an established fan of Ross County but on Saturday, he was cheering on the Canaries along with all of the local fans.
Prior to his injuries, Duncan had dedicated over a decade of service to his country and had spent a number of tours of duty in Iraq as well as being a part of the team that assisted in the clean up for Hurricane Katrina in the United States. His role is in joint service to the Navy, RAF and Army and as part of his responsibilities, Slater assisted many other servicemen that required medical assistance that were wounded in action during their tours up until that fateful day. Then it was his turn to rely on the support of his fellow servicemen, after the explosion in Babaji in the Helmand province threw him more than 30 feet from his vehicle into a compound.
He was returned to the Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham and was confined to bed rest for four months. His wife was about halfway through her pregnancy with his daughter at the time of his injury and remained by his side as he struggled in his recovery. His daughter Lilly was born as he was fighting to relearn how to walk for more than a year in Headley Court, Surry at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre. The damage was too severe and in the end, Sargeant Slater made the very difficult decision to have both his legs amputated so that he could focus on his family, his recovery and learning to deal with life in this new context. And he is doing an amazing job getting stronger all the time. Not only did he make the trek to the South Pole with Prince Harry but he is also training for the London Marathon in the coming year.