Brave Anthony’s big wish for 2013

Anthony Cooper from Euxton

Anthony Cooper from Euxton

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BRAVE Euxton solider Anthony Cooper’s Christmas wish is that his last major operation is behind him.

The 25-year-old of Balshaw Lane lost both his legs from the knee down, his right eye,two fingers, and also suffered brain damage when a makeshift bomb exploded when he was patrolling the Helmand Province with the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment two years ago.

He has had to undergo dozens of operations, and after spending the last nine months learning how to walk using ‘stubbies’ – short beginner versions of prosthetic legs – and vowed he would be walking properly by Christmas.

But in the last three weeks, he has undergone another major operation on his legs, which has meant he has had to stop his gym work.

He said: “I had to go down to hospital in Salisbury, which is a trek, but it’s where the best plastic surgeon in the country is.

“The operation involved revising my stumps, and shaving down what I thought was my kneecap, but was actually my femur.

“It’s going to take a while to recover, and I was hoping that this was the first year after my accident that I’d be walking.

“But that’s not going to happen now, it will have to wait till next year.

“The surgery will help in the long run, and I am hoping there’s no more major operations for me now.

“In the past couple of years, I’ve had that many operations that it’s doing my head in.

“I just want to get on with my rehab work.”

Despite his difficulties, Anthony was named David Lloyd Leisure’s PT Hero of the Year 2012, and earlier this month came runner up in The Sun Millie Awards at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Anthony was nominated in the overcoming adversity category, and attended the event with his nurse and mum, Shelly.

He said: “I was gutted not to win, but being nominated was still pretty good.

“The event itself was awesome. I met Katie Price who was quite nice.

“She’s very friendly, which surprised me.

“I also met with Torvill and Dean at the awards event, and they were asking me all about my story, as it’s not everyday you see a guy with no legs.”

He added: “I’m really chuffed about my progress this year.

“I have done a lot of work in the gym, and now I just want to carry on and get stronger next year.”