Ipswich: Shocked former teachers pay tribute to brave bomb blast soldier Liam

IPSWICH: Teachers at the former school of war hero Liam King, who lost both his legs after a devastating bomb blast in Afghanistan this week, have sent messages of hope to the brave lad.

Liam was a popular pupil at Stoke High School until he left the Maidenhall Approach school six years ago.

The 22-year-old soldier of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment was caught up in an explosion in Nahr-e-Saraj in Helmand province earlier this week – a blast that killed fellow soldier Private Martin Bell, 24.

Liam, of Fitzwilliam Close in Chantry, is at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after being forced to undergo amputations of both his legs at the knee, and losing the thumb and part of a finger from his left hand.

Head of PE Gareth Craze, who has taught at the school for more than 30 years, contacted Liam’s mum and stepdad, Lorraine and Steve Hutchings, to send his best wishes.

“We thought initially that he had been killed and I was so shocked,” said Mr Craze. “Then Steve came on Facebook and told us what had really happened.

“I was so relieved that he was alive, but at the same time, very upset. The staff that were here were visibly shocked as well, particularly his form teacher.

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“We were very upset but incredibly relieved that he was in hospital.

“We’re all rooting for him and wishing him a speedy recovery. Our wishes and thoughts are with him and his family at the moment.”

Liam was a keen sportsman at school and often preferred the outdoor games to some of his academic subjects.

“In truth he was probably a bit of a rogue at school, but a nice one!” added Mr Craze.

“I was looking forward to seeing him again.”

Mr Craze had actually been in touch with Liam’s family before Christmas to see if he could come and speak to students at his former school about life in the army.

n Would you like to pay tribute to Liam’s bravery? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.