Henlow veteran Michael Swain nominated in Endeavour Fund Awards

Henlow veteran Michael Swain, who has been nominated for an Endeavour Fund award. Picture: Endeavour

Henlow veteran Michael Swain, who has been nominated for an Endeavour Fund award. Picture: Endeavour Fund - Credit: Archant

A veteran from Henlow who lost his legs to a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan has been nominated for a royal award recognising his achievements in handcycling.

Michael Swain, who was serving in Helmand province with 3rd Battalion The Rifles at the time of the IED blast in 2009, will be joined by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Endeavour Fund Awards ceremony tomorrow night.

He has been nominated for the Celebrating Excellence Award, for sporting or adventurous endeavour by wounded service members and veterans.

Michael, who is now 27, struggled with traditional prosthetics before becoming the first British soldier to have the osseointegration procedure – attaching titanium rods directly to his thigh bones – in January 2014. The revolutionary operation, which allowed Michael to walk again within a few weeks, was performed in Australia by Dr Munjed Al Muderis, a pioneering Iraqi surgeon inspired by the 1984 film The Terminator.

Michael took up handcycling in 2016, and within a year was training with the RAID17 team, who were cycling across the Pyrenees, from the coast of the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.

He was also picked for the Race Across America as part of an eight-man team that covered 3,081 miles in 6½ days to raise money for Help for Heroes. He finished his year with two silver medals at his first British national championship, and hopes to go one better this year.

Michael said: “2017 was an incredible year with the Ride Across America, the RAID17 training in Portugal and some performances in races that showed me I can compete at a high level.

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“I’m looking forward to a big year of racing in 2018.”

Dad-of-two Michael was awarded the MBE in 2014 for his work for charity causes such as Coming Home – which provides adapted homes for severe wounded veterans – and his efforts to inspire others.

The Endeavour Fund is a project led by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, which works to help veterans rediscover self-belief and to support their physical, psychological and social recovery.

The fund says that since its launch in 2012, it has supported 66 projects that have helped at least 2,265 wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women.