A SOLDIER has been forced to put his wedding on hold indefinitely because the wounds he suffered in Afghanistan have still not healed – four years after he was blown up.
Paul Lambert lost both legs in the blast, suffering injuries so bad medics are still planning skin grafts.
Until that process is complete, the 32-year-old cannot be permanently fitted with prosthetic limbs.
So Paul, from Edinburgh, has reluctantly decided to put off for as long as it takes, his wedding to 33-year-old charity worker Gillian Spence.
It is a heartbreaking decision for Paul, who had vowed to walk down the aisle on his prosthetic limbs.
The couple got engaged just weeks before Paul, who served with the Royal Scots Borderers, lost his legs to an IED attack in Helmand Province.
The case illustrates the ongoing mental and physical suffering of the thousands of British troops injured in the war against the Taleban.
Gillian said: “One of his amputations was very high on his leg and there have been problems getting the stump to heal properly.
“We’re now waiting for him to have tissue from his stomach grafted on and after that we’ll concentrate on getting him up on his prosthetics.”
Paul was not expected to survive after he stepped on the IED.
He lost his legs, a finger and suffered massive internal injuries.
He has fought his way back to health with help from Gillian and ABF The Soldier’s Charity.
The Charity, for whom Paul is now an ambassador, offers support to serving and retired soldiers and their families.
Gillian added: “We’ve learnt not to set targets as it’s almost like setting yourself up to be disappointed.
“We like to take a more positive outlook so we’re taking things as they come.
“It doesn’t mean I don’t like to flip through the odd bridal magazine though.”
Paul, who is currently at Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey, said: “I wouldn’t have got as far as I have have without Gillian, and I am stronger than ever before
“The Soldiers’ Charity is another support network and it’s proven to be as much for her as it is me.”
Since the war began in 2001 over 16,480 British troops have been wounded and 444 killed.
More than one in ten soldiers returning from Afghanistan have mental health problems linked to the deployment, according to researchers.
A study showed 13.5% of those sent to the war zone had conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder and depression.
The more dangerous the region, the more likely it was there would be a mental health trauma, with Kandahar twice as risky as Kabul.