L/Cpl Derek Derenalagi

Lance Corporal Derek Derenalagi, a native Fijian, joined the British Army in 1999 serving in Northern Ireland and Iraq. However, it was in July 2007, whilst on tour of duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED). 

Having competed in the Paralympics in 2012 winning the nations hearts, Derek recently competed in the Invictus Games and came away with 3 Gold medals and 1 Silver medal.  He is now training for Rio.

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After losing both his legs above the knee, Derek was declared dead on an operating table at Camp Bastion, before a member of medical staff detected the faintest of pulses. Five years on from this day and Derek entered the London 2012 Olympic stadium as a Team GB Paralympian.

The five years between being declared dead on the battlefield to becoming one of the country's elite Paralympic athletes is an incredible story. The hard work, dedication and unwavering belief to achieve this goal is something that inspires any audience who hear Derek speak.

In the five years following his injury he helped galvanise public support for those seriously wounded in the service of the country. He was pivotal in the creation of Help for Heroes after the charity's founders, Emma and Bryn Parry, visited him at Selly Oak Hospital and found themselves moved by his dignity in the face of extreme adversity.

His resolve to reach the Paralympics was forged in the grimmest of those hospital days. Watching the Beijing Games from his bed, he decided that his ambition was to wear Britain's colours at London 2012 and he worked at identifying his strongest sport, the discus. His specialist prostheses have been built to be especially resilient to withstand the force of his throwing action.

As Derek lay barely conscious after the IED blast him 30 yards into the air he recalls the words he summoned "Lord Jesus Christ, if you are willing to use my life to motivate and encourage others, then please give me life again".

Hearing Derek speak is an opportunity that should not be missed. He is a remarkable person with a remarkable story.

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