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Brave Eastbourne marine Joe Townsend on royal visit to New York
1:22pm Wednesday 27th May 2009 in News
Prince Harry will be accompanied by an East Sussex Royal Marine who had both his legs blown off in Afghanistan during his visit to New York this weekend.
Joe Townsend, 21, will join the Prince when he meets wounded US troops at a veterans' hospital.
He and his mother Deborah Hawkins, who will accompany her son on the trip, will also have a private tea with Harry while in New York.
Mr Townsend, from Eastbourne, lost one leg completely and the other to the knee when he stepped on a land mine in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan in February last year.
It will be the first time he has met the 24-year-old Prince, who served with the Army in Afghanistan for 10 weeks between December 2007 and February 2008.
The Prince and Mr Townsend will together tour the advanced prosthetics facilities and a post-traumatic stress disorder treatment clinic at the Veterans Affairs Medical Centre in Manhattan. Their paths will separate on Saturday, when Harry will play in a polo match to raise funds for his Sentebale children's charity while the Marine is guest of honour at a New York Mets baseball game.
A St James's Palace spokesman said: "Prince Harry has long been a supporter of efforts to support the work and sacrifice of so many British servicemen and women. The Prince is looking to forge links with the community of young wounded veterans in the US. He is delighted that a British serviceman will be with him as he does this."
Mr Townsend and his mother's trip to the US is being paid for by New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon. Earlier this year Prime Minister Gordon Brown intervened after councillors rejected plans to build a specially adapted bungalow for the wounded Marine on his grandfather's land. A revised version of the proposal was approved in March.