OLYMPIC TORCH - Minister for Sport and the Olympics in Hastings

The Minister for Sport and the Olympics will be among those at torch celebrations in Hastings this afternoon (Tuesday), it has been announced.

Hugh Robertson is coming to show support for his nominated torchbearer, Lance-Corporal Martyn Compton, who will be lifting the torch at 6.35pm along the seafront.

Mr Compton was severely injured while serving in Afghanistan when an armoured vehicle he was driving was hit by both an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and a Rocket Propeller Grenade (RPG), fired by the Taliban.

The blast in August 2006 devastated his vehicle and killed the other members of the crew, who were Lieutenant Ralph Johnson, Lance Corporal Ross Nicholls and Capt Alex Eida.

Mr Compton, of Battle, was with D Squadron, The Household Cavalry Regiment, was thrown out of his vehicle on fire but crawled 80 yards into cover during which time he was shot in the leg.

As a result, he fell into a coma for three months and suffered 3rd degree burns over 70 per cent of his body.

Due to the extent of his injuries, Mr Compton has undergone numerous lengthy operations and skin grafts and still has many more ahead of him.

Despite requiring multiple operations and the rebuilding of his ears and nose, Mr Compton has married his fiancée, Michelle, and now has a young son called Archie and a baby daughter called Coral Freya.

He is a proactive fundraiser for servicemen and women injured on operations.

Mr Compton has been helped by the Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund (HCOCF). It has provided with gym equipment to aid his muscular rehabilitation, refitted his and his wife Michelle’s bathroom and kitchen to meet his requirements. They have also been given a grant to help them cover child care costs to allow Michelle to return to work.

Alex MacEwen, CEO of the HCOCF, himself injured during active service with the Household Cavalry in Iraq, said: “Martyn is a true hero, someone who was in a very dire situation from his injuries but has come through with resilience, positivity and strength.”

It will be a fleeting visit by the minister who will meet Mr Compton and other torchbearers this afternoon before they set off along the route. Mr Robertson will be back in London this evening.