The Apprentice contestant Raleigh Addington walks out of tonight’s show after hearing his hero soldier brother was almost killed in an Afghan bomb blast.
Traumatised Raleigh Addington, 23, told producers he could not continue filming after being told his brother Edmund had narrowly escaped death in an IED explosion.
Captain Ed Addington suffered horrific head injuries, a punctured lung, two broken legs and a broken arm in the blast.
Raleigh was told by producers in December – after filming started on the second episode – and he immediately left the show to be at his brother’s side.
Capt Addington, 27, was flown back to the UK where he has since undergone ten months of extensive reconstructive surgery and physiotherapy.
He has since met the Queen and only recently started walking unaided after initially being told one of his legs may have to be amputated.
Yesterday it emerged that the strain was too much for Raleigh, who left the programme immediately after the explosion to spend time with his family.
Lord Sugar said he ”fully supported” Raleigh’s decision after agreeing family was more important than business.
Raleigh said yesterday: ”At the start of the second task, I was contacted by the producer of the programme who told me that my mother was on the emergency number and I immediately feared the worst.
”My mind was buzzing with all kinds of emotions, had Ed been killed or injured in Afghanistan.
”Ed had suffered a collapsed lung, a brain haemorrhage, multiple fractures to both legs and arm as well as other injuries. He was lucky to be alive.
”There was never any question of me staying in the show and I knew that I had to be with my parents and my two other brothers to support Ed.
”I walked out in a daze, not really being able to comprehend the gravity of the events. Lord Sugar gave me a call after I left to make sure my brother and family were ok – it was great to hear from him.”
Capt Addington – known to pals as Ed – was caught in an explosion last December while serving in the Sangin area with 2 Rifles.
He and his battalion were clearing a route to bring in food and ammunition when insurgents engaged with small arms fire and road side bombs.
One of these bombs exploded underneath Ed’s seat and blew him up in the air with his unconscious body found 10 metres from the vehicle.
Four days after the attack, Ed was flown to Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham accompanied by five nurses and three doctors and has since undergone 16 operations.
The blast broke both his legs and his left arm and left him with a head injury and collapsed lung.
He spent nine weeks in the military hospital in Selly Oak – initially in intensive care – before being transferred to the Headley Court military rehabilitation centre near Epsom.
Yesterday Ed said: ”My Battalion was having a busy time in Afghanistan and we all knew the risks, everyone thinks it won’t happen to them but prepares for the worst.
”Raleigh was next to me as I woke up. When I saw that he was there I was annoyed with him because I thought he had been fired from the first task.
”He knows family comes first, but I truly believe that Lord Sugar lost his best Apprentice that day.”
Shortly after the blast, Raleigh, who now lives in London, was so moved by his brother’s injuries he started raising money for troops.
He even teamed up with Christina Schmid, the widow of hero bomb disposal expert Olaf Schmid to help fundraise for frontline soldiers.
Raleigh added: ”It seems very fitting after what has happened to Ed and all the other members of the Armed Forces who have been severely injured or killed.
”The charity has been a massive success and attracted wonderful support from everyone including Karren Brady who has agreed to become a patron.
”I’m in charge of the day to day operations and trying to persuade all sorts of organisations to give us free tickets for top sporting events, music events and theatre performances.”
In July, Capt Addington was accompanied by proud parents Rosemary and Peter when he met the Queen at her garden party at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen asked him about his recuperative treatment at Headley Court and about using the centre’s Help for Heroes swimming pool, which her grandson Prince William opened.
Of the visit, Capt Addington said: ”She was clearly very knowledgeable about the importance of swimming for people recovering from leg injuries.”
The Queen asked about his service and and how the troops deal with the threat of IEDs.
Although he is able to walk a few steps, Capt Addington was in a wheelchair when he met the Queen and was still awaiting whether he would need to have one of his legs amputated.
But he was recently told this would not be necessary and now uses a walking stick.
Grandfather Raymond Addington, 91, spoke of his pride of both Ed and Raleigh and revealed Raleigh.
Raymond, from Marlborough, Wilts., revealed: ”Edmund very nearly lost his life and has only very recently started walking again.
”He was very badly wounded and has spent a lot of time at Headley Court and Selly Oak Hospital.
”It has been a long painful journey for him but he is an extremely plucky young man, of whom I am obviously extremely proud.
”Raleigh is an extremely kind man who has raised a lot of money for troops through various fundraising exercises.
”But from what I gather, he was understandably very upset after hearing his brother was so badly wounded.”
Lord Sugar said: ”Raleigh’s decision to step down from the show proves that family should always come before business.
”We were in full support of his choice and I think his charitable work is particularly admirable. I wish him all the luck for the future.”