Prince Harry sent a good luck message to a royal marine before he collected a medal.

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Marine Ben McBean, dubbed ‘Harry’s Hero’ after the pair met on a flight back to England, received an email from the prince the night before he was rewarded for his service in Afghanistan.

McBean, who has been fitted with prosthetic limbs after losing an arm and a leg while on duty, has kept in touch with Harry since they both returned home from active service in March.

He said at the ceremony yesterday (14.05.08): “We speak all the time – often about completely random things. There have been email messages and he wished me luck for today.

“Walking up to collect this medal was the proudest moment of my life. I have been out to battle, I got blown up and now I’ve got a medal in my hand to show for it.”

McBean and marine Mark Ormrod – who trained alongside Harry – were cheered on by friends and family at the medal ceremony as they stood alongside their 40 Commando unit at Norton Manor Camp, in Somerset, South West England.

Ormrod, who lost both legs and an arm after stepping on a landmine while serving in the Helmand Province, has now learnt to walk again using bionic legs.

The marine, who spoke to Harry when the prince visited a rehabilitation centre in April, said: “It was awesome. It was one of the biggest targets I had set myself – and to be walking for this has been such an achievement. I really had to work hard to receive my medal.”