Injured soldier an inspiration for borough youngsters

Andy Reid, MBE, with Bedford students Kian Anderton, Nathan Garfin, Amara Phoenix and Lily Wakefield-Hilton
Andy Reid, MBE, with Bedford students Kian Anderton, Nathan Garfin, Amara Phoenix and Lily Wakefield-Hilton

Students at Leigh’s Bedford High School have learnt the true meaning of the word “determination” after hearing one man’s remarkable story of triumph over adversity.


As part of the school’s Enrichment Day, Bedford’s young learners welcomed Armed Forces veteran Andy Reid MBE.

St Helens-born Andy had a 15-year Army career as a corporal with the Third Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. In 2009, he was on active duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device.

Cpl Reid lost both legs and an arm in the blast but that was just the start of his inspirational journey.

He told the students how he refused to give in to his injuries and was determined to use the opportunity to help others.

“I saw it as an opportunity, I decided that rather than lying there and feeling sorry for myself, I would do as much as I could to overcome my disabilities and show others in the same situation that it could be done.”

Andy put proposing to his now-wife Claire at the top of his ‘to do’ list. Since then has gone on to complete a host of challenges to raise tens of thousands of pounds to support other injured soldiers, including a 10k run, abseiling down The Big One rollercoaster at Blackpool and long-distance bike ride and canoeing challenges.

“Don’t be a victim, be a survivor,” the father of two told the students, “My key to success was to set myself short, medium and long-term goals and to always keep challenging myself. I believe I survived the explosion for a reason and that was to move forward and help others. With the right mindset and determination, you can achieve your goals.”

Enrichment Day is a real highlight of Bedford High School’s academic year because it gives the students time away from the usual timetable of lessons to try new experiences.

This year, the Year 11 students were given the chance to prepare for life after school through a series of interview sessions with top-flight businesses and organisations.

Putting the young people through their paces were representatives from global accounting group KPMG, Bolton Sixth Form College, Wigan Council and Sellafield.

Other activities for Enrichment Day included a trip to the Van Gogh Experience in York for Year 7 students, where they got the chance to ‘step into’ the artist’s work through 360-degree digital projections.

Year 8 students took part in a Healthy Lifestyle’s Day, which included students turning up the heat on their cookery skills with some tasty sessions in how to bring their favourite healthy recipes to life.

Year 9 were given an introduction to higher education with visits to the University of Chester and University of Bolton or a personal development day in school.

While Year 10 students enjoyed a Wigan & Leigh College taster day with A-Levels, vocational courses and insights into construction and engineering on offer.