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Injured hero tells of baby joy

An Army medic who lost both legs in Afghanistan and feared he might never have children has become a father for the first time.

Sergeant Simon Harmer, 35, suffered horrific injuries after stepping on a makeshift bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan. Doctors feared he might not survive but the serviceman proved them wrong and he and his wife Marisa are now the delighted parents of a little girl.

Sophia's birth, which followed more than two years of treatment, numerous skin grafts and more than a dozen operations, was "the best thing ever", he said.

"We are over the moon. Actually over the moon is probably an understatement - over the moon and back again is probably more like it."

Sgt Harmer, from Winchester, Hampshire, was one month into a tour and at the start of an operation with the Coldstream Guards when he triggered an IED planted 200 metres from his base. He had been married to his wife, a 30-year-old schoolteacher, for only three months.

The blast, in October 2008, was so severe that the Bosnia and Iraq veteran lost his left leg above the knee, his right leg below the knee and broke his right arm.

"It wasn't the best day but, to be honest, I'm one of the lucky ones," he said. "A lot of the guys that have been injured have suffered genital injuries but that is something that you don't necessarily hear about. That was a concern."

Sophia was born in February.

"She is always happy and she's always smiling," he said.

"I absolutely adore her and she has got me wrapped around her little finger. I'm a little bit of a handful sometimes and I think she is going to be a little bit of a handful as well."

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