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Royal honour for injured serviceman at Paralympic closing ceremony
A FORMER Army captain from Great Missenden had a starring role in the Paralympic closing ceremony when he drove HRH the Earl of Wessex into the Olympic arena.
Cpt Tony Harris, 31, was personally picked by creative director Kim Gavin for the role after Mr Gavin visited Help for Heroes charity in Tidworth, Wiltshire.
Mr Gavin felt using wounded serviceman would perfectly align with his vision for the ceremony which marked the end of the two-week long Paralympic Games.
Cpt Harris is a below-the-knee amputee after losing a leg when he was caught in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2009.
Talking about the ceremony, Cpt Harris said: "There was a lot of preparation beforehand but it was electric both backstage and in the arena.
"I spoke to the Earl of Wessex and he was a real nice bloke. It's certainly not everyday you get to chauffeur a member of the royal family and on such an incredible occasion." Also in the car was Sir Phillip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee.
Bryn Parry, chief executive of Help for Heroes, said: "The 2012 games have been extraordinary, they have changed the public's perception, they have informed, enthused and inspired.
"In years to come, people will look back and say that 2012 was a defining point; something our wounded heroes have been a part of."
Cpt Harris moved to South Heath, Great Missenden in April from Twickenham with his wife and two children and said the area "ticked all the boxes".
He has vast experience in driving as part of the Race2Recovery team which involves injured and disabled servicemen and woman in rally driving.
The team is aiming to take part in the Dakar Rally in South America next year which covers more than 5,500 miles.
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