Baby joy for injured soldier who lost both his legs in bomb blast

HE'S THE DADDY Sergeant Simon Harmer with his daughter Sophia
HE'S THE DADDY Sergeant Simon Harmer with his daughter Sophia

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Picture: Allan Hutchings (143038-828) PPP-141023-142215001

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AN ARMY medic who lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan will celebrate his first Christmas as a father.

Sergeant Simon Harmer, who trained at Fort Blockhouse in Gosport, was injured by a makeshift bomb in Helmand Province while he was out on foot patrol.

Doctors initially feared he would lose his life but he proved them wrong and has since learned to walk on two prosthetic legs.

Now Simon and his wife Marisa are the proud parents of a little girl, nine-month-old Sophia.

Simon, 35, said: ‘We are over the moon.

‘Actually, over the moon is probably an understatement – over the moon and back again is probably more like it.

‘She is always happy and she’s always smiling.

‘I absolutely adore her and she has got me wrapped around her little finger.

‘I’m a little bit of a handful sometimes and I think she is going to be a little bit of a handful as well.’

Simon was only one month into his tour in Afghanistan when he triggered a hidden improvised explosive device.

He had been married to his wife, a 30-year-old schoolteacher, for just three months.

The blast, in October 2008, was so severe Simon lost his left leg above the knee, his right leg below the knee and broke his right arm.

He was flown into Britain where he was put on the critical list along with two men he had given life-saving treatment days before.

After spending a month and a half at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, Sgt Harmer started rehabilitation at Headley Court in Surrey.

Sophia’s birth in February this year came after nearly two years of treatment, skin grafts and more than a dozen operations.

The injured servicemen now walks using two prosthetic legs.

Simon, who lives in Kings Worthy, Winchester, added: ‘I try and involve myself as much as I can.

‘At the moment I change her nappies, as you would expect in this day and age, I feed her and I bath her.

‘She loves swimming and that’s something I really enjoy.

‘In the future I’d like to be able to do all the things that a father is able to do – take her camping, that sort of thing.

‘Although I’ve got prosthetic legs, I’m never going to be able to do some of the stuff I want to do.

‘But we are quite optimistic and we don’t really dwell on the bad stuff.

‘All we look at is the positive that’s come out of everything that’s happened.

‘We consider ourselves quite lucky.

‘Everything can be achieved, I suppose, it’s just about finding a way to do it.’

Simon and Marisa hope they can have more children in the future.

The army medic is a veteran of the Bosnia and Iraq wars.

He was given freedom of Gosport along with his medical colleagues from 33 Field Hospital in April last year.