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Amputee war hero honoured on regional daily’s front page

A regional daily dedicated its front page to a war hero who walked unaided on prosthetic legs for the first time on Remembrance Sunday.

The Gazette, Blackpool, paid tribute to Sergeant Rick Clement, who lost both legs after stepping on an explosive device in Afghanistan in 2010.

Since then, Sgt Clement set up his own charity, A Soldier’s Journey, to raise funds for other injured servicemen and women.

He has a close relationship with The Gazette, and helped start a campaign which saw the newspaper win the ‘Story of the Year’ Award at the 2013 Johnston Press Awards.

Sgt Clement tweeted a picture of an obituary notice in its sister weekly the Lytham St Annes Express for Harold Jellicoe Percival, a 99-year-old RAF veteran.

The ex-airman had died with no immediate family to attend his funeral, and Sgt Clement led calls for people to attend.

The Gazette covered the story, which was later reported on across the globe after more than 500 people turned out to mark Mr Percival’s passing.

After receiving the award, The Gazette handed over the trophy to Sgt Clement in recognition of the part he played in the campaign.

Blackpool Clement

Sunday saw him walk unaided for the first time when he laid a wreath at Blackpool’s war memorial, covered on yesterday’s front page, pictured above.

Andy Sykes, Gazette deputy editor, said: “The Gazette has followed Rick’s story step by step, from his initial fight for life when medics didn’t think he’d survive to his incredible recovery, which culminated with his first steps at the Remembrance Sunday event in Blackpool.

“When you speak to Rick what strikes you is his remarkable attitude. He is amazingly humble, never complains about what has happened to him and is utterly determined not to let it hold him back.

“It took great courage to walk for the first time on his prosthetic legs in front of hundreds of people in such weather, so it is only right we dedicated the front page to him yesterday.”