Harry Visits Ex-Soldier Training In Gosport

4 April 2017, 07:11

Duncan Slater

Prince Harry's paid a surprise visit to a former soldier in Gosport - where he's training for a gruelling endurance race across the Sahara Desert.

Duncan Slater lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan - he later shared a tent with the Royal on an expedition to Antarctica.

He's been acclimatising to 40-degree desert heat at the Institute for Naval Medicine.

Harry dropped in on Duncan during his preparations for running the 156-mile (251km) Marathon des Sables - dubbed the toughest race on earth - to raise money for fellow injured soldiers.

The royal visit prompted Mr Slater, who was running on a treadmill, to swear in surprise and remark: ``How's it going?''

Harry laughed and said: ``Don't fall, don't swear. How are you going? All right?''

The Prince added: ``Nice to see you. This is horrible. I wasn't really in the neighbourhood but I had to come and see you sweating on a treadmill in a sauna. You're looking good. How long have you been on here for?''

When Mr Slater replied he had been there for 50 minutes and has 10 more to go, Harry remarked: ``Ten more minutes? There's no way I'm staying in here for 10 minutes. You're having a laugh.''

Mr Slater, who is raising money for the charity Walking with the Wounded, will battle temperatures of up to 50C during the extreme endurance race which is the equivalent of running six marathons in six days.

If he completes the race, he will be the first double amputee to do so.

The former sergeant lost both his legs when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by an IED in the Babaji area of Afghanistan in July 2009.

It is his second attempt to complete the Marathon des Sables. He came within 35 miles (56km) of the finish last time, but was forced to stop after his stumps were rubbed raw.

Harry chatted to Mr Slater about his new carbon fibre limbs which he hopes will mean he can finish the ultra-race.

``The legs are good. Better than last time. Everything is so much better than last time,'' Mr Slater said.

Harry quizzed him on why he was taking on the challenge, asking: ``Why? Why again? Why after everything else you've done and been through?''

Mr Slater said: ``I'm working for the charity (Walking with the Wounded) so anything I can do to raise awareness for the charity is a good day out.

``On the other hand I want to keep pushing. When I got to the South Pole, everyone was relieved and chuffed to bits but when I came back from that, I just felt like, what now?''

Walking with the Wounded supports veterans with physical, mental or social injuries on their journey to reintegrate back into society, regain their independence and secure sustainable employment.