Paul Burns


Born in 1961, Paul was 16 years old when he joined The Parachute Regiment as a junior soldier. After training he was posted to 2 PARA in Berlin, before moving with them to Northern Ireland in 1979. In August that year, the vehicle in which he was travelling was blown up by a roadside bomb planted by the IRA at Warren Point; Paul was one of two survivors, the other six crew members dying in the blast.

As a result of the injuries that he received his left leg was amputated and his right leg severely damaged, but saved. After a year in hospital and a further year’s rehabilitation, Paul re–joined his battalion in 1981. He subsequently trained as a parachute rigger and has made many free–fall jumps with the Red Devils display team. After leaving the army in 1991, he worked in the parachute industry and still undertakes free–fall jumps.

Paul has learned to ride a horse and to drive a carriage in order to take part in the challenge. He was on the crew of ‘Time and Tide’ in the BT Global Challenge 96/97 becoming the first all disabled crew to circumnavigate the world. He went on to become a fully qualified Ocean Yachtmaster and will be skippering a 65ft yacht in this year’s Fastnet Race in August, in charge of a British Limbless Ex–Servicemen’s Association (BLESMA) crew. His book ‘A Fighting Spirit’ was the prize for winning a competition ‘BBC My Story’ in 2010 from among 17,000 entrants.

Paul Burns


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