IT was a night of truly inspiring stories.
But Craig Winspear’s nomination for a Pride of Hartlepool award was like no other.
A bomb blast in December 2011 left his life hanging by a thread. The 23rd Pioneer Regiment soldier lost both his legs when he slipped on wet ground in Afghanistan and landed on a live bomb.
His family were told to prepare for the worst, but Craig, 30, fought back to health despite five months in hospital.
The brave town man is learning to walk all over again on prosthetic legs and he’s even set himself a new goal of competing in the Paralympics. He wants to get strong enough to compete in wheelchair basketball.
The former High Tunstall College of Science student won the Local Hero category of the Pride of Hartlepool awards. He could not be there on the night because of a hospital appointment but his dad Paul proudly took to the stage on his behalf.
“When I saw the nominations in the different categories it looked very difficult to win. There are some very courageous children involved.” said Paul. But he added: “To even be nominated for this is a big thing.”
He said he would be ringing Craig straight after the awards to give him the news that he’d won.
Craig’s rehabilitation is still continuing at a specialist centre in Epsom, Surrey, where he’s learning to walk on prosthetic legs.
But as far as he’s concerned, life is filled with new opportunities. He told us before the awards: “One chapter might have closed, but at least 10 others have opened.”