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First double amputee at South Pole uses leg to cool champagne

THE Scots adventurer who became the first double amputee to reach the South Pole has told how he used his prosthetic legs to help the group celebrate.

Duncan Slater, 34, a former sergeant who served with the RAF Regiment, lost both his legs after the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by an improvised explosive device in the Babaji area of Afghanistan in July 2009.

He was among 12 injured servicemen and women from the UK, US and the Commonwealth who trekked across the frozen wastes of Antarctica to reach the most southern point of the globe as part of the Walking with the Wounded expedition, which also involved Prince Harry.

Mr Slater, originally from Muir of Ord, near Inverness, said: "They took some champagne out to the pole and I used my legs as a primitive ice bucket and wedged the bottle in there and passed it around - I don't know how we did it but it went down quite well."

Mr Slater described how Harry was always at the centre of light-hearted activities, such as improvising a game of cricket or making a latrine look like a castle. There was always something, and he usually instigated it."

At a welcome home press conference, Harry met up with some of the men and women with whom he completed the challenge and he praised their efforts as an "unbelievable achievement".

Actor Dominic West took part in the challenge and joined the group that greeted the Prince when he arrived at a central London hotel. Mr West said: "He was very much part of the team, he seemed to specialise in building latrines. He built this incredible castellated structure with blocks to keep out the wind and it even had a loo roll holder."

Surrounded by his fellow trekkers, Harry said: "I hope this truly unbelievable achievement by everyone behind me, and back in America, Canada and Australia... will remind everybody they can achieve anything that they want to."

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