A soldier from The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery who suffered a broken neck when she risked her life to save others was remarkably back in the saddle for the accession day gun salute in The Green Park in London.
Lance Bombardier Grace Gostelow received a Commendation for Bravery last year for her selfless initiative in stopping a tonne-and-a-half gun carriage and a team of runaway horses from ploughing into onlookers while the Troop rehearsed in Charlton Park, London in 2016. The "series of unfortunate events" could have ended fatally for her and her team after her fellow soldiers were thrown by bucking steeds, leaving her alone trying to control six galloping horses and a First World War one-and-a-half-ton gun with no brakes. The mounted gunner managed to regain control and steer the team to safety onto the edge of the training ground where they hit a tree. She sustained serious injuries though the horse team were unscathed.
I love the Army and it's great to be back with the Troop and the horses
It's been a long road back to recovery for the talented rider and Royal Horse Artillery soldier. Today was the first time since her accident that she performed the prestigious Royal Gun Salute that the unit is world famous for. It was an emotional moment for her to drive out of Wellington Barracks leading her team as the eyes of the world were upon them: "The accession gun salute is a big one for us," she said. "My job is in the Army, I love the Army and it's great to be back with the Troop and the horses: the horses are the biggest thing for me. To get back on board is a milestone. It's good to crack on and forget that it happened".
The accession gun salute marks a moment of profound change, following the death of King George VI on this day in 1952 it commemorates the 67th anniversary of the passage of power from one monarch to the next, and today marks for Grace, who three years ago thought she would be paralysed and never walk again, a second chance doing the job she loves, delivering the nation's finest ceremonial.