IRON-WILLED Andy Reid has  described how his mother’s strength to cope with losing a leg in a road crash inspired his own recovery from an IED blast in Afghanistan.

The former soldier, 36, was speaking to more than 300 people at Langtree Park, where he launched his autobiography, Standing Tall.

He gave an insight into finding the inner strength that helped him move on from the explosion in the autumn of 2009 that left him one of the most seriously injured UK survivors of the war.

The triple amputee, who lives in Windle, told guests: “My mum lost a leg in an accident when I was 11. A drink driver crashed into a motorbike and a sidecar we were in.

“When I lost my limbs I could not sit around and feel sorry for myself when my mum has been through that and brought three kids up in a three-storey Victorian house with no stair lift”

He also spoke candidly about the “moment that changed everything” on October 13, 2009, when he was caught in the explosion.

The book launch drew guests from around the country, such as former comrades, charity workers, celebrities – including the comedian Jason Manford and soap actor Kelvin Fletcher - and prominent St Helens figures.

He added: “I had met an amazing girl called Claire – and vowed I will get out of this wheelchair and marry her.

“And it has been an amazing few years - from walking again to skydiving, riding elephants and even meeting David Beckham – at the Millie Awards.

“When he asked me which football team I supported I told him – ‘I don’t like football I like rugby league.”

The audience was treated to entertainment, including music from young tenor Tom Loughlin, wartime singer Heather Marie and an acoustic set by Liverpool rock band Sound of Guns.

Andy, who is embarking on a career as a motivational speaker, has begun a series of book signing events at Langtree Park, Asda and Tyrers.

He will be at Asda again between 10am and 4pm and on Saturday, February 9.