If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Salisbury surgeons help soldier play starring role at Paralympics
SURGEONS at Salisbury District Hospital helped to ensure an injured war hero could play a starring role in the Paralympic opening ceremony.
Joe Townsend, 24, who lost both legs to a Taliban landmine while serving in Afghanistan in 2008, was chosen for the honour of bringing the Paralympic Torch into the stadium on a zip wire.
But just three days before the ceremony, he was rushed to Salisbury District Hospital after developing an infection.
Salisbury surgeons Roderick Dunn and Alex Crick stepped in to perform emergency surgery to enable Mr Townsend to complete his daredevil stunt. “I recovered quickly as I have had about 50 operations now,” said Mr Townsend, who lives near Eastbourne.
“On the night it was amazing. “I could see everyone in the stadium. The crowd was roaring and there were floodlights on me.”
Although the surgery meant that Mr Townsend was unable to wear his prosthetic legs as he whizzed down the zip wire into the stadium, he was determined not to miss the occasion.
“I wanted to be at the ceremony,” he said.
Following the ceremony Mr Townsend, a Royal Marine who hopes to compete in the 2016 Paralympics, returned to hospital for further surgery.
Mr Townsend has also completed the Iron Man Challenge and the 3,051-mile Race Across America using a handbike, which raised £100,000 for Downton -based charity Help for Heroes.