Norfolk’s Duncan Slater makes history by completing the world’s toughest race

Pupils at Northgate High School in Dereham wish Duncan Slater good luck ahead of his Sahara marathon

Pupils at Northgate High School in Dereham wish Duncan Slater good luck ahead of his Sahara marathon adventure. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Norfolk's Duncan Slater has made history by becoming the first double amputee to finish the Marathon des Sables - dubbed the toughest race on earth.

The former RAF serviceman from Scole, near Diss, today successfully crossed the line in his second attempt at the gruelling endurance race.

The Marathon des Sables - Marathon of the Sands - involves completing the equivalent of six marathons over six days across the Sahara desert in Morocco.

Mr Slater faced searing heat of up to 50C and crossed 156 miles of desert to raise money for fellow injured soldiers through the Walking With The Wounded charity.

When he attempted the race last year, he had to pull out of the challenge before finishing the final stage because his prosthetic legs were ripping his stumps to shreds.

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But, with a new set of legs thanks to an Italian firm, the 38-year-old has succeeded in his goal to complete the demanding route, after setting off a week ago.

Walking With The Wounded posted on Instagram: 'Duncan Slater has done it... he has completed the @marathondessables The first EVER double leg #amputee to complete the brutal challenge.

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'A true inspiration to us all. What Duncan has achieved is remarkable and proof to us all that ANYTHING is possible if you put your mind to it.

'Duncan said: 'I very much hope that through my efforts, I will inspire other wounded, injured and sick from the armed forces community and beyond, to come forward to ask for help but to also know that there is life beyond injury.'

All funds raised - and almost £17.500 has been donated so far - will go to Walking With The Wounded's Head Start programme, which provides ex-servicemen and women who experience mental health difficulties to access effective support.

Mr Slater's life was thrown into upheaval one day in July, 2009.

The former sergeant was serving in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle.

The only unbroken part of his body was his right arm and a year later, both his legs had to be amputated in order for him to walk pain-free.

Mr Slater has gone on to take part in some epic fundraisers for Walking With the Wounded, including skiing to the South Pole in 2013, becoming the first double-amputee to do so.

Mr Slater also works for the Walking With The Wounded charity, visiting schools and collages across the country to share his inspiring story and raise awareness of veterans' issues.

Donations can be made here.

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