War hero inspires Somercotes Academy pupils

Visit by Ken Bellringer  and Owain (corr) Ford (back) of Blesma, the Limbless Veterans. They gave a talk to Year 8 students.
Visit by Ken Bellringer and Owain (corr) Ford (back) of Blesma, the Limbless Veterans. They gave a talk to Year 8 students.

A war hero who lost both his legs trying to save his colleague has left pupils feeling inspired at Somercotes Academy.

Ken told students the extraordinary story of how he lost both of his legs in a bomb explosion.

Pupils said his talk really left a lasting impression on them, putting life into perspective.

Warrant Officer Ken Bellringer told the students how he had been working with the bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan in 2009 when he was injured after trying to rescue a colleague who had stood on an IED (improvised explosive device).

Ken lost both his legs, thumbs and some fingers and his colleague died.

“I can now drive, use a computer and I am studying for a degree,” Ken told the students.

“It has been tough, but I came out the other side.”

Students were very impressed by Ken’s talk.

Student Oliver Toothill said: “It is upsetting and inspiring to know what people go through.

“My biggest problem is my phone going flat. Ken has lost his legs.”

Ken was accompanied by Owain Ford from Blesma, a military charity set up after the First World War that helps limbless veterans.

Ken continued: “This is the first time I have given a talk to school children.

“They were really engaged, but a bit shy to ask too many questions.”

Owain Ford said: “We want to dispel the myths about limbless and disabled people, and we want to try and help children to develop coping mechanisms to learn to deal with their problems.

“Ken has worked through his problems and has come out the other side and so can others.”

Somercotes Academy Year 8 student Ellie Newson summed up the feelings of the class.

She said: ”We feel a massive amount of respect for Ken and what he has been through.”