A soldier who lost both his legs while serving his country in Afghanistan has undergone pioneering surgery.
Sgt Jay Baldwin, 28, travelled to Australia for the life-changing procedure which saw him fitted with permanent implants on which to connect his prosthetic legs.
Jay was serving with the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment (PWRR) on January 31 2012 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED and lost both legs from just above the knees.
Since returning to Crawley he suffered chronic pain as he struggled to walk on a variety of prosthetics.
Despite the pain, he won the admiration of the town when he took part in the Remembrance Day parade along the High Street in November 2012, saluting the memorial at the St John’s Church.
Working with the Regiments Charity, Friends of The PWRR, Jay went on to raise more than £88,000 to fund his journey to Australia and the surgery.
He was only the third Briton to undergo the operation which used a technique called osseointegration to insert the titanium-based implants directly into his thigh bones.
The surgery was designed to dramatically enhance the joint and make movement pain-free.
In his blog, Jay described his nervousness as the surgery approached and how he had to have his right leg shortened to match his left before the implants could be fitted.
While looking forward to a life of easy movement, he had to endure days of pain following the operation.
It wasn’t until February 24 that the pain dulled enough to allow him to make it through the night without medication.
He said: “That pain can only be described as having to do a heavy leg session at the gym for 24 hours continuous. It’s not nice, but manageable!”
Jay will stay in Australia for five weeks of rehabilitation, including intensive physiotherapy sessions, but has no plans to take it easy when he gets back to England.
In August he will take part in a 3,000-mile bike ride across America and training for the epic challenge will begin when he returns home.
The two-week ride will help raise awareness and additional funds for soldiers facing injuries similar to Jay’s.
To read Jay’s blog, log on to www.pwrr.org.uk/how-we-help/success-stories .