A WAR veteran whose legs had to be amputated when he was involved in a bomb blast in Afghanistan has fulfilled a childhood dream of swimming with sharks.

Sgt Rick Clement, who grew up in Chatburn, spent three weeks in Australia and had the chance to dive with the Great Whites as part of a sponsored trip for his charity A Soldier’s Journey.

The 33-year-old said he estimated the trip had raised around £5,000.

ABOVE: Rick's amazing video from inside the shark cage

He said: “It was amazing.

“It was a great holiday and the sharks were brilliant.

“It is something I have always wanted to do since being a kid.

“I have always had a fascination with sharks.

“When I was about seven or eight I would do all my school projects on them at Chatburn Primary School.”

Sgt Clement said he was made even more determined to carry out his dream after stepping on the improvised explosive device while on duty with the Duke of Lancaster’s First Batallion.

He said: “When I first woke up from my injuries, it was one one of the first things I said.

“I was still going to do it.

“But at the time I did not know if it was going to be possible.

“I went with my parents, sister Katie Plant and a family friend.

“Katie was very nervous about it, but I could not wait.

“We saw about 25 different sharks, there were some rays and quite a few different varieties of fish.”

All of the money which is raised through A Soldier’s Journey, which has so far collected around £35,000, is donated to the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, ABF The Sold-iers charity and Help for Heroes Sgt Clement said: “£35,000 is a lot of money to anybody.

“Hopefully it will help give back what they used to help me out and give the opportunity for that same support to be given to people going through what I have been through.”