A SURVIVOR of a terrorist attack was awarded the overall Pride of Gwent Award at a ceremony on Friday.

The attacks of July 7, 2005 are a day this country will never forget. It was the worst single terrorist atrocity on British soil, killing 52 people and injuring many more.

Daniel Biddle was standing next to a suicide bomber on the train that had just left Edgware Road station. As a result of the attack he lost both legs, an eye and his spleen and his whole life changed forever.

Mr Biddle said: “I can remember everything from waking up to going to work. I woke up late and I missed my stop on the train, so I shouldn’t have even been there.

“The train pulled into Edgware Road station and there was a young guy sitting next to me. As we entered the tunnels he looked at me, reached into his bag and there was a massive white flash.

“The explosion blew me out of the train and took off my left leg, severed my right leg and I was trapped with part of the train on top of me.”

He spent eight weeks in a medically-induced coma. There were multiple operations just to keep him alive and he lost 87 pints of blood. He went on to spend 51 weeks and two days in a rehabilitation hospital.

He still has a 20p piece lodged in his thigh bone and has had other shrapnel, including his door keys, removed by surgeons.

Mr Biddle added: “I’m an incredibly lucky man to still be alive, every one of the consultants that treated me said that each of my injuries should have killed me. To go through that and still be here, I don’t take that for granted.”

Following the incident he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a nervous breakdown, as a result he tried to kill himself three times.

His world changed when he met his wife Gemma, known as Gem, and he dedicated his award to her.

Mrs Biddle said: “It means everything. There are so many milestones that he achieves despite what he has gone through and to be part of that is incredible. He is my hero and he deserves everything.”

“The person I am now is because of the love, the support and the commitment from Gem,” Mr Biddle said. “When we first met I was as broken as you can get, she never once gave up on me and dragged me through. Although I won the award I wouldn’t be here but for Gem.”

Before that fateful day of the 7/7 he says he wasn’t aware of the issues that disabled people face in their daily lives. He says: “We live in a bubble when it comes to disability and people often look at you with sympathy and empathy. What 7/7 showed me that life can change in a blink of an eye, whether that’s an accident, illness or terrorist attack. The roadway we chose in life gets altered, but it can be better a better path.”

Mr Biddle has gone on to help others through his work to improve disability awareness in Gwent. As part of this work he volunteers his time to Gwent Police to train their officers to have a greater understanding of disability issues and disability hate crime.

He said: “We train officers to make them more aware of issues disabled people face but also the way officers respond to disability hate crime. It’s the initial contact that will determine whether or not that person feels confident to report crime in the future.”

He has also had training around the Equality Act, disability hate crime training, as well as helping ex-military people back into employment.

As well as this Mr Biddle set up his own consultancy on accessible building projects and is currently studying for his law degree but says he wants to challenge perceptions of disability.

He added: “For me it’s about proving that disability doesn’t have to be the end. It’s challenging the idea that someone with a disability can’t work.

“The things that have gone on the past couple of years, which have resulted in people having injuries similar to mine, I would like for them to be able to look at me and see that I got through it and am moving forward.”

At the awards, Mr Biddle was presented with the Pride of Gwent Award which was sponsored Newport City Council and Monmouthshire Building Society.