AN ex-soldier, who survived tours of Afghanistan and a deadly outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone only to lose a leg in a work accident, has been rewarded for getting his life back on track.

Kieran Rodger has rebuilt his life at Darlington College after a crane crushed his leg while he was working on overhead power cables on the railway.

The HNC engineering student won the prestigious Principal’s Award, as well as the Curriculum Managers’ accolade, at the annual Darlington College awards, staged at the town’s Hippodrome Theatre.

The 28-year-old spent six years in the infantry, serving in Afghanistan with 4 Rifles, when he went out on daily patrols not knowing where the next danger may lie.

Luckily after seven months away Kieran left Afghanistan unharmed.

When serving with 3 Rifles, Kieran deployed on Operation Gritrock where he was sent to Sierra Leone as part of a contingent helping local people cope with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease, when one of the medical team caught the virus.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Kieran left the army in 2016 unscathed to work on the railways and study an engineering qualification at Darlington College when disaster struck.

“I was working away and had my leg crushed leading to an amputation,” he said.

“I can’t say much more at the moment as an investigation is still taking place.”

“I served all over the world unharmed while some of my mates were hurt so the irony of being injured at home didn’t escape me.

“I didn’t think I would ever reach the position I’m in now, particularly when I was in hospital which were dark days.

“But, with the support of my partner Stacey, my journey has been incredible and the course and the lads on it have been fantastic."

He said he felt everyone on his course deserved the award not just him.

“We have helped each other,” he said, “I have shared my life experiences but learned a lot from them so I am really pleased and very grateful to accept the award for us all.”

Sharing the top awards was Olivia Ferguson who undertook the level 3 technical extended diploma in health and social care.

Olivia has autism and was unable to attend mainstream school for many years due to her health condition but her hard work paid off and she gained an overall A* two years running.