THE prospect of a meeting with the Queen had helped a badly injured soldier to pull through his darkest hours, he said yesterday.

Fusilier Shaun Stocker, of Rhostyllen, was a member of the 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh personally welcomed home by Queen Elizabeth at a moving ceremony at Chester Racecourse.

The 19-year-old lost both his legs and was partially blinded in an explosion while on duty in Masizi in the south east of Afghanistan on April 4.

He was flown home to undergo extensive treatment at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.

But yesterday, after two months of treatment, he was among the soldiers to be decorated by the Queen and was delighted to be able to hold a short conversation with the monarch. He said: “It’s been a goal for me to be here today because I was very ill in hospital and this gave me something to work towards.

“I wanted to be fit enough to make it here today and have managed to pull myself through.

“Getting a medal from the Queen is such an honour.

“I was nervous about speaking to someone so important in case there was a pause in the conversation but she seemed to know about me and that I’d been released from hospital just two days ago.”

Some 18 members of his family attended the Drumhead Service of Thanksgiving including his mum Jenny Stocker, 50 and dad Ian, 51.

Mrs Stocker said: “I’m the proudest parent in the world at the moment. He shouldn’t be here by rights but he’s fought to get here.

“He may have lost his legs and his eyesight but he hasn’t lost his sense of humour despite the pain he’s in.”

Grandfather Ray Williams said the day had special significance to the family as it was 20 years since Shaun’s great grandad George Williams, a veteran of the Somme, was honoured by the Queen for his service in the First World War.

Shaun will begin his rehabilitation at Headley Court, Surrey, on June 15.

About 500 soldiers twice paraded before thousands of relatives in the racecourse stands to make sure the final march past was faultless.