Amputee soldier Anthony Makin's baby joy

Dec 3 2009 by Tom Mullen, Evening Chronicle

FROM the horrors of Afghanistan to new baby joy – amputee soldier Anthony Makin has become a dad.

The squaddie, who lost a leg in a Helmand Province roadside bomb blast, is celebrating the birth of his first child, Leonie Lillie.

Anthony Makin with baby Leonie Lillie

Anthony Makin with baby Leonie Lillie

Anthony’s long-time girlfriend Sarah Watson gave birth to their healthy baby daughter after an 11-hour labour on Saturday morning.

Born at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, Leonie weighed in at 8lbs 9ozs and her delighted parents are totally smitten.

Anthony, 23, who grew up in Benwell, Newcastle, said: “She’s brilliant. It’s going to be a big change but I’m enjoying being a dad. It’s fun.

“Sarah is doing great. She’s a bit shattered but she’s bound to be. We’re just the proudest parents around.

“My mam and dad are loving it as well. They keep ringing up and asking how we’re doing.

“We’ve had the midwife round and everything’s fantastic.”

Fatherhood will be a new adventure for Lance Bombardier Makin, of 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery, who is in the process of leaving the army.

Earlier this year he decided to return to civilian life more than two years since the Taliban booby-trap bomb blast that saw him lose his right leg below the knee.

The blast hit Anthony’s convoy, sending a sending a six-inch piece of shrapnel into his right foot, peppering him with shrapnel and shattering his teeth.

Anthony’s comrade James Dwyer was killed in the December 2006 explosion, and Anthony was rescued only thanks to the speed of his fellow soldiers reactions.

Recalling those moments, he said: “I remember seeing some kids waving to us, and the next thing you know I heard a bang. It’s the loudest bang I’ve ever heard in my life, my legs rattled.

“Everything was blurry and there was black smoke in my eyes and shrapnel in my face. They didn’t know whether I was going to live or die.”

Anthony was told his military career could be over, but just weeks later he was amazing medics with an impressive recovery with a prosthetic limb.

Last year he made headlines around the world when he was declared fit enough to return to Afghanistan for a second tour, alongside his brother, Paul, who also serves in 29 Commando.

His exploits saw him meeting the Queen in a special ceremony at his barracks, and receiving praise from military top brass, including former Defence Secretary Des Browne.

However, trouble with his leg cut short his second tour this year and, despite returning to full fitness once again, Anthony has now decided to fully commit to fatherhood.

He will soon be released by his regiment and begin a resettlement programme to help him re-train as a gym instructor.

Anthony said: “I’ll miss the Army life. I had a great time and I know I could’ve been made a sergeant by the time I was 26, but it’s time to move on.

“I’ll keep in touch with the lads. I’m really looking forward to the next step.”

(Thanks to Steve McNeice for sending this article)

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