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 an understatement – over the moon and back again is 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.
“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 hear about.”
After a month and a half at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, Sgt Harmer began rehabilitation at Headley Court in Surrey.
Sophia was born in February.
The injured serviceman is now walking again using prosthetic legs and is looking forward to sharing in his daughter’s future .
“She loves swimming and that’s something I really enjoy. I’d like to be able to do all the things that a father is able to do – take her camping, that sort of thing.
“Everything can be achieved, it’s just about finding a way to do it.”