Hero swaps war for the classroom

Hero: Soldier Daniel Holding talked to pupils at Southlands High School about his experiences on the frontline
Hero: Soldier Daniel Holding talked to pupils at Southlands High School about his experiences on the frontline
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A brave Chorley soldier shared his experiences on the frontline with pupils at Southlands High School.

Hero Daniel Holding, 20, who served with the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, suffered severe injuries to his neck and back on patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province last year.

He popped into the secondary school, on Clover Road, on Friday morning to inspire year 10 English students with their creative writing work and wider career choices.

He said: “I got told that many of the pupils who attended the assembly are considering joining the army so the school asked me to give a talk about the ups and downs of life serving your country.

“I’m very pleased that I can share my experiences with them and hopefully help expand their knowledge about army service.”

Daniel, of Blackburn Road, Wheelton, trapped two nerves in his back when his armed vehicle drove over a hidden Improvised Explosive Device (IED) whilst on patrol.

He said: “It was such an unexpected thing to have happened because even though you’re in a war zone you never think that something bad will ever happen to you.

“Once I got injured I initially thought I’d never be able to walk again.”

Daniel, who joined the army in February 2009, aged 18, had physiotherapy at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan but refused to return home early without his comrades from the 1st Battalion.

Since returning to Britain, Daniel, had to intensive medical support to get back on his feet.

He said: “I’m now back at 100 per cent and I just feel very lucky as some of my friends suffered far (more) serious injuries.”

In the weeks prior to Daniel’s injuries, two of his fellow servicemen Anthony Cooper and Robin Sanderson, both from Chorley and aged 20, suffered serious injuries while out on patrol.

Top gunner, Daniel said: “The injuries that those two lads suffered made me more emotional than my own. I was with them every step of the way 24/7.

“When I went to see him in the hospital in a coma that was difficult but he’s a battler.”

Daniel told the school’s pupils that he wants to serve again this year. Following Daniel’s talk the pupils wrote short stories about what they would do if they were on the frontline.

The special lesson was organised by deputy headteacher Brian Souter, who said: “It is so important for the children to see what is happening in the real world.

“It is much better than just hearing about it from the TV or other media sources.”