England

Moat victim David Rathband in Stafford lights switch-on

Stafford ceremony
Image caption Pc Rathband (centre) was invited after members of the public nominated who they wanted

The policeman shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat has switched on the Christmas lights in his home town of Stafford.

Pc David Rathband was shot in the face as he sat in his patrol car in Newcastle upon Tyne in July.

He said it was "an absolute honour" to perform the ceremony after members of the public nominated who they wanted.

Mr Rathband has said that he "bore no malice" towards Moat, who later shot himself in Rothbury, Northumberland.

Moat shot his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and her new boyfriend Chris Brown - killing him - before attacking Pc Rathband.

He was found following a massive manhunt in Northumberland.

Pc Rathband, from Northumbria Police, said when he was invited to Saturday's Stafford ceremony he had no idea he had been put up for nomination.

'Extremely proud'

He added: "On the top of the Pride of Britain [awards] and the Pride of Northumberland it's a huge honour.

"What's happened to me four-and-a-half months ago is a distant memory for most people and hopefully one day it will be that for me.

Image caption Many people turned out for the ceremony

"But to come back to your home town and do something which I've watched as a child in front of many people is an absolute honour and I'm extremely proud to be here."

Asked about what he thought about being invited to such events and recognised for bravery, he said: "When you look at what I had been through and what my family have been through, it's a bittersweet emotion.

"[I'm] extremely proud and [it's] a great moment to come to... events such as this, but how bitter a feeling is it to have lost your sight?"

Pc Rathband has set up a charity called the Blue Lamp Foundation and has been trying to raise £1m to help injured members of the emergency services.

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