EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Royal Marine Ben McBean – who was hailed a hero by Prince Harry after losing an arm and leg in Afghan bomb blast – is called a ‘government draining d***head’ by woman after parking in disabled bay
- Ben McBean, 33, lost an arm and a leg to a landmine blast in Afghanistan in 2008
- Ex-marine flew home from Helmand Province on the same plane as Prince Harry
- He formed a close bond with the Duke of Sussex who learned of his blast injuries
- Ben battled for ten years to get a disabled badge when his local council took it away because he is ‘not disabled enough’ after running a London Marathon
- On Friday he parked in a disabled bay at hospital for an appointment when he was abused by the woman
- Of the incident, Ben told MailOnline: ‘I hope she reads this and feels ashamed.’
Ben McBean, 33, with his blue badge at the disabled parking space where he was abused
A double amputee ex-Commando hailed a ‘hero’ by Prince Harry was abused by a woman passer-by as a ‘government-draining d***head’ for parking in a disabled bay with a blue badge.
Former Royal Marine Ben McBean, 33, lost an arm and a leg to a landmine blast in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2008, aged just 20, yet battled for more than a decade to be given a blue badge as local council officials had deemed him ‘not disabled enough’.
After finally getting one, with help from his MP, Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer, he arrived at hospital on Friday for an outpatient appointment, only to be met with a volley of abuse.
He tweeted: ‘So I parked in a disabled bay for the first time. Get out the car. Woman calls me a government draining d***head lol!’.
Ben, from Plymouth, whose girlfriend Zara Archer, 33, works at the hospital haematology dept, told MailOnline: ‘It was the first time I was driving with the badge and I thought I’d finally get to use one of the disabled bays.
Former Royal Marine Ben (left) shares a joke with Prince Harry (right) in 2017 after completing his 31-mile run through the streets of London, creating the outline of a giant poppy on his route
Ben and the Duke of Sussex struck up a close friendship after flying home from Afghanistan together. Here they met at HM Naval Base Devonport, Plymouth, where the prince launched an adventure training expedition to the base of Mount Everest for injured service personnel
‘But as I drove round twice, there was a woman giving me a dirty look, so I carried on looking for a normal space, but couldn’t find one, so by then I was getting late.’
Ben was attending a pre-op appointment for surgery to remove neuromas, or damaged nerve tissue in his arm, caused by pieces of shrapnel left from a Taliban roadside bomb or IED.
Ben was just 20 years old when he was blown up in Helmand Province by an IED in 2008
He added: ‘As I got out of the car and put the blue badge up, this woman just stood there shaking her head and then told me something like I was ‘a drain on the taxpayer and a d***head’.
‘I couldn’t believe it. She even shouted something about her dad being in the Navy, and how I didn’t deserve to have the badge.
‘I could have stood there and told her my story, or just abused her back, but I chose to ignore it and walk on by. I hope she reads this and feels ashamed.
‘I think people see you walking and assume you must have a relative who has the badge and so you’re abusing the privilege. Everyone assumes that to be disabled, you have to be in a wheelchair or 99 years old.
‘Unless I wear shorts and a tee-shirt, it’s not obvious I’m a double amputee, so I was expecting it, which is why even now I have the badge, I think twice about actually using it. ‘
Ben was granted a blue badge by Plymouth City Council soon after sustaining his life-altering injuries in Afghanistan.
Ben was attending a pre-op appointment for surgery to remove neuromas, or damaged nerve tissue in his arm, caused by pieces of shrapnel left from a Taliban IED when he was abused by the woman who called him a ‘government draining d***head’ for parking in a disabled bay
It was while in hospital recovering that he decided to run the marathon as a disabled athlete, and completed one in 2009.
But after learning of his marathon achievement, Plymouth Council withdrew his blue badge, and it wasn’t until recently that he was given it back.
He pointed out that running a marathon took a huge effort, especially that first time on what was still a fractured stump.
He added: ‘Yes, I can do that kind of thing for charity when I put my mind to it, but that doesn’t mean I should have to climb a mountain every time I have to attend a hospital appointment or visit the chemist.’
By chance, the father-of-two was medevacced home on the same flight in 2008 which brought Prince Harry back to the UK.
The Duke of Sussex later said the ex-Marine was ‘a hero’, after learning that he had lost his left arm and right leg in the IED blast.
Ben, who lives in Plymouth, who was described as a hero by Prince Harry, smiles as he and Mark Ormrod (left) receive their medals for serving in Afghanistan
Doctors had feared Mr McBean might die from his injuries but the former Commando recovered and now has a prosthetic leg.
In 2014 Prince Harry again cheered him on as he completed a gruelling 31-mile run on behalf of the Poppy Appeal through London.
The appearance was a surprise to the ex-Marine, who had designed the route using a smartphone app to look like a Royal British Legion poppy.
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