War hero facing tough new battle

Sean Franklin who was injured in a blast in Afghanistan and is organising a Help for Heroes event,
Sean Franklin who was injured in a blast in Afghanistan and is organising a Help for Heroes event,

A FORMER soldier injured in a terrifying Afghan bomb blast still suffers flashbacks of the moment he was blown into the air.

Sean Franklin was on patrol in fields near Kandahar, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, with seven other members of the Royal Logistics Corps when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded, blowing the lads off their feet.

The 30-year-old suffered a dislocated right ankle, ligament damage in both shins and was left with impaired hearing following the blast and was one of the worst injured in the group.

The incident happened in 2009 and just over three years later, Sean still suffers flashbacks and nightmares and has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He is organising a charity night to thank those who helped him on the road to recovery.

The event will raise money for Help for Heroes, which has supported him since his ordeal.

He said: “When I got medically discharged from the Army, my world was over.

“Help for Heroes helped me out a lot. I just want to return the favour.

“If it wasn’t for this charity I would be no good.”

Sean, who has lost Middlesbrough-based Army friends in Afghanistan and is friends with Hartlepool soldier Craig Winspear, who lost both legs in a separate bomb blast, was treated in Afghanistan for two days but was flown home and later medically discharged.

He said: “I was on ‘ops’, walking through, I heard a big boom, and that was it. It knocked us off our feet and then I realised what happened.”

Sean added: “I’ve been in the Army all my life. It’s killing me being out.”

He got in touch with Help for Heroes after being medically discharged in 2011 and the charity gave him a racer bike to help improve movement in his legs.

Now he can walk, but struggles to run.

Help for Heroes also got him in touch with the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), who linked him up with a PTSD counsellor and helped with medication to help him sleep and control his emotions.

“I got to talk to someone about my injuries in Catterick, I didn’t want to leave,” added the former Shotton Hall and East Durham College student.

Sean, who lives with partner Joanne and children Shannon, six, Dylan, four, and Ciara, one, in the Oakerside area of Peterlee, signed up for the Army in 2002, having previously been a member of the Territorial Army Royal Signals in Hartlepool.

He previously served in Iraq, Belize and Germany before Afghanistan, and his father Steven Franklin and uncles Dirk Cook and David Franklin were also in the Army.

The charity night will take place at Horden Labour Club, in Sunderland Road, Horden, from 7pm on Saturday, April 13.

There will be a DJ, buffet, two clairvoyants, a raffle and tombola, and an ‘auction’ of single lads and lasses.

Tickets are £4 for adults, £1 for children or free for children under two and available from the club or by calling Sean on 07972 092237.