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Wirral Marine's family set sail for launch of Poppy Appeal
Laura and Ava with representatives from the armed forces at this afternoon's launch. Picture: Craig Manning
THE wife and daughter of a Royal Marine injured on duty in Afghanistan have launched Wirral's Poppy Appeal aboard a ferry on the Mersey this afternoon.
Lance Corporal Pete Dunning from Wallasey was on tour with the Royal Marines when he was injured by an explosion in May 2008 and lost both his legs.
After months of painful rehabilitation he was fitted with prosthetic legs. His determination to regain as much independence as possible led to Pete learning to walk with his new legs and to eventually join the combined services disabled ski team.
He had been asked to attend today's launch but is currently away training with the and wasn't able.
Wife Laura and their daughter Ava represented him at today’s appeal launch, accompanying a giant poppy on the ferry crossing from Seacombe to Woodside. They were joined by cadets from Birkenhead sea cadets, TS Blackcap.
On being asked to launch the appeal Laura told the Globe this afternoon: "I am very honoured. With the appeal focusing this year on forces families it just seemed appropriate to be doing so.
"I'm, obviously, very fortunate, that my husband is still quite able to do things, but we always will need help and we know that the Legion will be there for us.
"The forces are probably in everyone's mind an awful lot more. Going back, people thought of the Legion as World War Two veterans, but there is a of younger generation and we need to be supporting them for life.
"He suffered numerous injuries and it's obviously his legs that are an issue and we currently facing further amputation, potentiallly of the right leg, which will then pose its own new set of problems and, essentially, he will need to learn to walk again.
"It's a daunting concept, especially when you've got a small child in the house. You just think you've mastered the art of one thing you're going to go back to basics again."
On her husband's success in the ski team, Laura continued: "I am proud, but I have to be the one who keeps a level head and remind him who he is when he comes home."
Julie Dove, co-oordinator of The Appeal for Cheshire County said: "Armed Forces families are at the heart of our welfare. We help not only those who serve but the mothers, fathers, partners and children of our serviing personnel past and present.
"The Legion spends £1.7 Million per week in direct welfare support, that’s £90 million each year, answering more than 165,000 calls for help.
"We are thrilled to have such generous support from Merseytravel who agreed immediately to support our cause by allowing us onto the ferry for this event."