Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Army amputee from Great Missenden preparing for Dakar rally
AN ARMY captain from Great Missenden who had his leg amputated is leading a team of British servicemen on the world's most gruelling motor race.
Tony Harris lost his left leg after being blown up by a roadside bomb in Helmand province while on a 2009 tour of duty in Afghanistan.
His own recovery, and the experiences of other injured colleagues, inspired him to set up the Race2Recovery team - which will be taking part in the famous Dakar rally in January.
The 31-year-old spent ten months in and out of hospitals receiving treatment before the decision was made to have his leg amputated.
He said: "During that period I saw how important it was to have goals beyond immediate recovery. Short term you learn to walk again and as it starts to get better and better you start focussing on other things."
Among his team-mates is former Para Tom Neathway, who is a triple amputee and will be Capt Harris's co driver on the Dakar rally.
Their vehicle is being provided by Land Rover and the team will be raising money for the Forces charity Help for Heroes.
Capt Harris, a father of two, said: "People who've sponsored us see the value in it. There's less focus on the victims and more on the people in the team. It shows you shouldn't let your injuries define your future. Physically we are different now but we are still 'us'.
"We get the opportunity to say thank you to the public. It's made a world of difference to the mentality of people coming through their injury - you can't put a figure on how important that's been to us."
The team going to Dakar is split evenly between veterans, injured servicemen and civilian experts who will carry out running repairs where necessary.
Capt Harris said his interest in the event stems partially from army life: "I was trying to find something that involved teamwork and an element of strategy and tactics, that reflected what we were used to in the military.
"It's the hardest race in the world - nothing comes close to it. We set our sights right at the top."
Asked if he had any nerves about the 4,000km rally he said: "I'm not nervous now but when I get to the start line there will be a feeling of trepidation. Some of the terrain is absolutely mental. I'm so excited to do it."
For more information on the team and their challenge go to www.race2recovery.com.