After losing both legs in a bomb blast while on patrol in Afghanistan, Anthony Cooper, 25, was told by doctors he would never walk again. Just two years later, however, Anthony has been awarded the title of David Lloyd Leisure's Hero of the Year, and is now set on fulfilling his dream of becoming a Paralympic long distance runner.
In 2010, while serving with the 1st Battalion of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, Anthony, of Chorley, Lancashire, lost both legs below the knee, his right eye, fingers on his left hand and fingertips on the right, as well as suffering a severe brain injury.
Despite being told by doctors that his physical mobility would be extremely limited, he joined the Chorley branch of David Lloyd to improve his diet and build the strength in his legs so he could walk again: "After my injuries, I wanted to keep going to get my fitness back. David Lloyd Chorley has all the equipment, excellent personal trainers and a very good reputation."
By following a personal training regime with the support of his personal trainer, Rob Darlington, Anthony now feels he is in a position to aim for the Paralympics: "My favourite past time was running before I was injured and I miss it a lot. I had one childhood wish - to be a soldier. Now with Rob's help, my dream is to represent my country in the next Paralympics."
PT Rob, who nominated Anthony, added: "He always gives 100 per cent, is willing to push himself to the limit and loves nothing more than a really tough session. With his courage, fight, sense of humour and will to work very hard, I am sure he will achieve his dream."