‘I fell in love with an Army lance corporal who lost his legs in Afghanistan’

Rachael Yarrington pays tribute to her hero husband Scott - who stepped on a bomb in 2010 - and acknowledges the Armed Forces, past and present, who have helped shaped the world we know today

I first laid eyes on Scott when I had just turned 13 years old. He was in my sister’s class at school, three years above me. I was drawn to his amazing smile and cheeky chap personality. Life was so easy back then – I could never have imagined the rollercoaster ride we would embark on later in life.

December 2010 was the date Scott’s life changed forever, and really, mine did too – I just didn’t know it at the time. Scott, who is now 34, was married and I was in a relationship when he was on his second tour of Afghanistan with the Irish Guards, a military unit in the British Army. It was there that he stood on a bomb – known as an improvised explosive device (IED) – and he lost both his legs above the knee.

About a month after the injury I went and visited Scott in hospital. I found out what had happened via my sister and brother-in-law, who Scott is close friends with. Seeing him was incredibly upsetting, but I held it together and didn’t show my emotions. Scott was behaving typically and making light of the situation. I couldn’t believe how strong he was being.

What crushed me the most was learning that Scott was due to go on leave in a week, because this whole nightmare could have been avoided. But every day he grew stronger, and I continued to visit. He spent two months in hospital, and then started a rehabilitation course for two and a half years.

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We got together officially in May 2011 and married in 2017. Our other relationships came to a natural end and it felt right to support each other and be together. But that’s not to say our journey has been easy. We are proud parents to Alfie, six, who we nickname our little miracle. He’s an IVF baby because sadly Scott’s injuries mean we can’t conceive naturally. He was a first attempt pregnancy but now we have had two failed attempts and can’t have any more children. I’m only 31 and would love to have expanded our family, but clearly it wasn’t meant to be. Besides, Alfie is more than enough for us. He’s such a cheeky chappy – just like his dad!

Our family routine is a little out of the ordinary. I work as a bridal sales advisor and Scott spends a lot of time at home with Alfie. The bond they have is truly amazing and I love to see them together. Scott does everything with Alfie that a ‘normal’ dad would do, he doesn’t let his limitations stop him doing anything.

Alfie has grown up with Scott having no legs and he doesn’t see him as different to any other dad. When he was three his teacher told us he had said in class, ‘My daddy’s a hero’. It was really sweet and made me well up because we’d never heard him talk like that about his dad.

It sounds mad to say it, but Scott is one of the lucky ones. Mentally, he’s recovered from the traumatic experience and doesn’t suffer from PTSD or night terrors. If he’s not feeling his best he checks in with his counsellor, who is wonderful.

This year marks 100 years since the first Armistice Day, and today the Royal British Legion leads the nation in commemorating and honouring those who have served and sacrificed. Scott’s injury has opened my eyes to army life – what they go through to serve our country can be unimaginable. It’s vital we pass on the torch of Remembrance to the new generations because young people are still fighting for our country every day.

Sadly, many soldiers who have been injured struggle with their new life, and can give up completely. Scott has always been determined to walk again, and not only that – he competed in the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto as part of the Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team, winning Bronze. But to me Scott, you are a gold medal winner every day.

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Scott: ‘If I knew I’d have lost my legs in the army I would still have joined – I loved my job’

From a young age I’d always wanted to join the army, so when I turned 18 I signed up and didn’t tell my parents. They were shocked but supportive and January 2005 marked the official month I joined the British Army.

The job was very physical and I loved it.  I completed two tours, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan – and it was during the latter tour I stepped on a bomb and lost both legs. Before my injury I’d never had a scratch; you never think it’s going to happen to you but to be completely honest, if I’d known then what I know now I would still have joined the army, because I met the best people and loved what I was doing.

I was awake for about 30 minutes after it happened, before I was put on a chopper and put in an induced coma. When the adrenaline wore off I’d never felt pain like it, and later, when I was told I’d lost my legs I was devastated and couldn’t process the information.

Today, I treasure every day with Rachael. She’s the most caring and supportive woman I’ve ever met. She’s been my rock and I’ll love her forever.

To find out more about how to ‘Pause to Remember’ please visit rbl.org.uk

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