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VIDEO: Former Wirral marine helps Tranmere Rovers kick off Poppy Appeal
Lance Corporal Pete Dunning wife Laura and their two children Ava and baby Noah at Tranmere Rovers this afternoon. Picture: Craig Manning
A WIRRAL marine maimed while on duty in Afghanistan helped Tranmere Rovers launch their campaign for this year's Poppy Appeal.
Former Lance Corporal Pete Dunning from Wallasey was on tour with the Royal Marines when he caught in an explosion in May 2008 and lost both his legs.
After months of painful rehabilitation he was fitted with prosthetic limbs.
He visited Prenton Park this afternoon - along with wife Laura and their two children Ava and baby Noah - to help manager Ronnie Moore's squad launch their seventh fundraising drive for the Royal British Legion.
The team will wear a special one-off shirt with a poppy printed on the front during their home game against MK Dons a week on Saturday, October 26.
The t-shirts will be auctioned off to raise funds for the campaign.
Pete told the Globe: "For me, it’s very special because I’ve been a beneficiary of the British Legion, with help adapting my previous home, my mum and dad’s, to enable me to live in it.
"So, I'm more than happy to help the legion out in any way shape or form."
The club's chief executive Mick Horton said: "We have worked with the Royal British Legion for many years and have been really pleased with the amount of money our supporters have kindly donated to their important appeal.
"Our players are very proud to be able to wear the poppy on their shirts and delighted to be able to help with the fundraising for such a worthwhile cause.
"We appreciate the fantastic efforts of current and former servicemen and women and are more than pleased to be able to offer them reduced admission to the MK Dons game and hope to welcome them back to Prenton Park in the future."
Julie Dove, the legion's fundraiser in Cheshire said: "Once again we are delighted to have the support of Tranmere Rovers FC with whom the Legion has a strong relationship.
"The Tranmere supporters are always very generous to our Appeal and we look to them again to support us so that we can continue to help and support our Armed Forces Community."
Lnce Cpl Dunning was serving with the Royal Marines Armoured Support Company on OP HERRICK 8, supporting 2 Para. On May 25, 2008 he had just finished his last mission and was returning to Camp Bastion.
As he was about to cross the Helmand River the armoured vehicle he was travelling in struck an IED.
The driver died instantly and Pete lost both of his legs, fractured his spine and received burns to his arms and legs, among other injuries.
Both Pete and Laura and even their small daughter Ava are ambassadors for The Royal British Legion. Pete has had help and support from The Royal British Legion since he was injured.
Laura and Ava launched the Wirral Poppy Appeal last year on the Mersey ferry.
On adapting to life after his ordeal, he continued: "It was hard, the hardest thing I've ever had to do, never mind 32 weeks of commando training.
"Being blown up and getting back to full fitness has been some of the hardest parts of my life.
"But I don’t regret a day of anything I’ve done."
Calling on fans to support the Poppy Appeal, Rovers manager Ronnie Moore said: "It’s a fantastic charity to support and I think everybody should.
"It's fantastic that we have people out there putting their lives on the line for everyone."
Admission to Rovers' game against MK Dons has been reduced for for servicemen and women and ex-servicemen and women, to to just £5 (tickets must be purchased in advance).
Admission for seniors has also been cut to £5 and is cash on the turnstiles for all stands except the Main Stand and Family Paddock.
Current servicemen and women should present their ID cards at the Club Shop or Ticket Office to claim their discounted ticket.
Ex-servicemen and women should present their discharge papers for their discounted ticket. There will also be poppy appeal collection at the match.
There will also be poppy appeal collection at the match. Following the match, the shirts will be auctioned with proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal.
Further details on how to bid for one of the special shirts will appear on www.tranmererovers.co.uk
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