Former serviceman Craig Richardson prepares to run the London Marathon after losing half his leg in Afghanistan

A former serviceman who lost half his leg in an explosion in Afghanistan has a clear message as he prepares for the massive challenge of completing the London Marathon: 'I will do it.'

Craig Richardson, 25, of Dereham, is proving an inspiration to many as he trains for the event on April 22 and is part of a team raising money for the Norwich Community Sports Foundation, which runs projects for disabled adults and children in Norfolk.

He has been battling with an injury in his knee stump which has forced him to cut back on the distance he can run.

But as he promoted the CSF and the marathon team at Wells on Saturday, Craig said he was completely determined to get to the finising line.

'It will cripple me and I will be taking my crutches with me but I have to do it,' said Craig, a senior aircraftsman, who was medically discharged from the RAF Regiment last October.

'People look at disabilities and think you should act in a certain way and I like to show what you can do.'

As well as having steely mental strength, Craig has also maintained a wry sense of humour.

Most Read

'People think I should live in a bungalow so I bought a three-storey house! Everyone has got an excuse but you have to get on with it and I could use an excuse but I want to have a normal lifestyle.'

Craig was on patrol in Kandahar in October 2008 when he lost his leg below the keen and had intensive rehabilitation at the Ministry of Defence's Headley Court centre.

He has what he calls his 'every day' prosthetic leg and also a carbon fibre blade for running.

Craig had been running 10 miles and was getting towards 12 miles but had a pain in his stump and initially ignored it but it developed and he had to go to the doctor.

'I cannot afford to to take the time off from training so am now doing three-five miles,' he said.

Craig was doing volunteer work for the CSF at Carrow Park and director Ian Thornton mentioned the idea of doing the marathon.

'I jumped at the chance,' Craig said. 'But then the reality hit home!'

Former Norwich City winger Darren Eadie is a CSF ambassador and was in Wells on Saturday to support Craig and also attend the second birthday open day of the Joint Effort gym run by Paul Sandford, who has been helping Craig with training,

Darren said: 'Craig is incredible and has amazing enthusiasm and belief and wants to help others. He has a strong personality and it will be so tough for him but he has real mental strength.'

Paul said: 'I have run four London Marathons and one New York Marathon and doing them with two legs is hard enough. Craig is an inspiration to everyone and is taking everything in his stride. He has got every reason to feel sorry for himself but is just getting on with it. To even think about what he is doing is phenomenal and he is a fantastic chap to have around.'

During the Joint Effort open day there was a raffle to win a signed City shirt in aid of the CSF.

The CSF team are raising money for the �50,000 Sporting Light Appeal and among those also taking part are former City striker Iwan Roberts, EDP editor Peter Waters and Norwich City chief executive David McNally.

To pledge support for Craig visit the website uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CraigRichardson

For information on the team go to www.communitysportsfoundation.org,uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter