Soldier who lost both legs hopes to raise £10,000 for injured veterans
A soldier from Co Antrim who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan is aiming to raise £10,000 for the charities which supported his recovery to "give back to other veterans in need".
Father-of-three Lance Corporal Bryan Phillips (32) joined the Irish Guards at the age of just 19, and served with his regiment in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2012, aged 27 years old, he lost both legs above the knee and suffered multiple injuries to his right arm in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan.
He was airlifted to Birmingham, and after a fortnight was transferred to the world-renowned Headley Court Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, where he began two years of treatment.
During his recovery, he and his family received support from the Poppy Appeal and the Irish Guards Benevolent Fund, and Bryan is now seeking to repay them by raising money for other injured veterans.
The Carrickfergus man is no stranger to charity fundraising, having raised over £10,000 for the Irish Guards Benevolent Fund last year by cycling 360 miles by hand bike from Mizen Head to Malin Head.
Describing the moment that his life changed forever, Bryan recalled: "I had been in Afghanistan for four months when I stood on the IED (Improvised Explosive Device).
"I was blown up but I was conscious, and I knew what was going on - I was even telling people what to do."
After he was given a pair of prosthetic legs, Bryan had to re-learn how to walk again, and spent the next two years travelling between Headley Court and Northern Ireland.
"I was strong-minded before it happened and it got me through, as did all the support I received to re-learn how to walk," he said.
At the time of the attack, Bryan, who now works as a locksmith, had a four-year-old son, Jack, who is now 10, with his wife Natasha. The couple have since had two more children, Poppy (2) and Arthur (five months).
Bryan is looking for sponsors to purchase 100 wreaths costing £100 each which will be presented at Cenotaphs across Northern Ireland on Remembrance Sunday.
"Even before I joined the Army, Remembrance Sunday was special to me, as it's my birthday," he continued.
"If I could meet that fundraising target for the Poppy Appeal and the Irish Guards Benevolent Fund, I would be so proud."
To donate, visit the Poppy 100 fundraising page on Justgiving.com