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Ben defies the odds to join charity trek
STRIDING out with determination and smiling ear to ear, it is the moment his parents never dreamt they would see.
This is Ben Wagon who just months ago was fighting for his life after a crash which killed his girlfriend Justine Emblin-Butler.
But today he has defied all the odds.
Not only is he on his two feet, the 23-year-old Royal Navy helicopter engineer has just completed a FIVE-MILE charity walk to raise cash for the people who have helped him walk again after the crash.
His mum Tracey said: “It’s just brilliant.
“We were told it was possible Ben may never walk again, that he wouldn’t make anywhere near the recovery he has.
“Everyone is amazed at the progress he has made, he has exceeded all expectations, and although he still has a way to go, he is at the stage where he wants to push the boundaries.”
The amazing moment happened when Ben joined family friends Mike Francis and Neil Barker on the last leg of their mammoth 70-mile hike from Southampton to SSAFA Norton House, located near to Help for Heroes-funded military rehabilitation unit Headley Court in Surrey.
The money raised will go to Norton House, which provides a “home from home” for families visiting servicemen and women recovering at Headley Court.
And not only did Ben walk five miles on his own, he even did it wearing a pink tutu, princess tiara and magic wand – as a promise for the pair raising more than £1,000.
Mike, 50, of Hedge End, who initiated the epic three-day walking challenge, said: “I occasionally visit Ben at weekends and see first-hand the support Norton House give to Ben and his parents, Tracey and Richard.
“When I first saw Ben in hospital it was just awful yet four months later he is walking five miles – and he could have walked a lot further. He is just amazing.”
Justine, 21, and her boyfriend of three-and-a-half years Ben had been heading back to their home in Yeovil, Somerset, after a weekend visiting family in Southampton when the crash happened in October 2011.
Justine was driving their Audi A3 along the A36 when she swerved to avoid a badger and lost control.
Paramedics and doctors flown in by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance fought to save her but she died of her injuries at Southampton General Hospital.
Passenger Ben suffered serious head injuries and was taken to Southampton’s Wessex Neurological Intensive Care Unit.
His parents were told he was unlikely to survive but over the following weeks Ben gradually woke up from his coma.
He was then moved for rehabilitation at Headley Court Military Hospital where he is today.
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