A former Highland RAF sergeant has been voted the “Best of British” in the Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons.
Duncan Slater, formally from Muir of Ord, was chosen as the overall champion and “against all odds” winner in recognition of his commitment to the armed forces community.
The 42-year-old, who currently resides in Norfolk, has overcome one challenge after another after losing both his legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.
Judges of the awards stressed Mr Slater’s actions have shown the “best of British spirit” while awarding him the prestigious accolade.
The overall champion award was presented to Mr Slater by Falklands War hero Simon Weston.
He said: “The award goes to a person who exemplifies what the Amplifon awards represent – and that’s the Best of British.
“Duncan has overcome his own adversities, not only to achieve great things in their life but also to make an indelible inspirational stamp on the whole nation.
“He is an individual who doesn’t know when to give up. He bears no malice when he could be filled with anger. He has made it his mission to make a mark on society in a positive and productive manner.”
Following in his family’s footsteps
Sgt Slater joined the RAF Regiment when he was 19 following in the footsteps of his dad and grandad, who both served in the air force.
In 2009 he broke almost every bone in his body and lost both legs when the armoured vehicle he was travelling in was struck by a roadside bomb in Helmand province.
After spending five months in hospital and then recovery time at home, his friend Christopher Moore suggested they do a bike ride together from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Since then he has completed the London Marathon, become the first double amputee to reach the South Pole and finished the gruelling Marathon de Sables in the Sahara desert.
His efforts have raised thousands of pounds in support for a number of charities including Help For Heroes, the RAF Benevolent Fund and Walk With The Wounded over the years.
He was also made an Honorary Freeman of Diss at the town’s annual meeting in front of his wife Kim, 37, and daughter Lilly, 11.
‘It’s a huge privilege just to be here’
Now in its sixth year, the Amplifon Awards For Brave Briton celebrate truly remarkable people and pets.
Set up in honour of Amplifon’s founder, Second World War hero Major Charles Holland, the awards recognise courage and achievement across a range of categories including against all odds, service to country, charity champion, active agers, young hero, hero pet, celebrity hero and coronavirus hero.
Sgt Slater said he was “privileged” to have received the award.
He said: “To win these awards is unbelievable. It’s a huge privilege just to be here amongst all of the other finalists.
“I don’t want to embarrass him but Simon Weston has been a huge inspiration of mine. I have followed a lot of the stuff he has done and I just think he is an amazing human being.
“I can’t believe I have won these awards. It’s just phenomenal. It’s just topped off my year perfectly.”