medal1

Victoria Cross Award Citation

Victoria Cross medalThis is the full text of the citation published in the London Gazette

26 February 2015
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE Whitehall, London SW1

The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Victoria Cross to the under mentioned:

 ARMY
Lance Corporal Joshua Mark LEAKEY, The Parachute Regiment, 30014428

Between May and December 2013, Lance Corporal Leakey was deployed in Afghanistan as a member of a Task Force conducting operations to disrupt insurgent safe-havens and protect the main operating base in Helmand province. The majority of operations took place in daylight in non-permissive areas, attracting significant risk. On the 22nd August 2013, Lance Corporal Leakey deployed on a combined UK/US assault led by the United States Marine Corps into a Taliban stronghold to disrupt a key insurgent group.

After dismounting from their helicopters, the force came under accurate machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire resulting in the Command Group being pinned down on the exposed forward slope of a hill. The team attempted to extract from the killing zone for an hour, their efforts resulting in a Marine Corps Captain being shot and wounded and their communications being put out of action. Lance Corporal Leakey, positioned on the lee of the hill, realising the seriousness of the situation and with complete disregard for his own safety, dashed across a large area of barren hillside which was now being raked with machine gun fire. As he crested the hill, the full severity of the situation became apparent: approximately twenty enemy had surrounded two friendly machine gun teams and a mortar section rendering their critical fire support ineffective.

Undeterred by the very clear and present danger, Lance Corporal Leakey moved down the forward slope of the hill, and gave first aid to the wounded officer. Despite being the most junior commander in the area, Lance Corporal Leakey took control of the situation and initiated the casualty evacuation. Realising that the initiative was still in the hands of the enemy, he set off back up the hill, still under enemy fire, to get one of the suppressed machine guns into action. On reaching it, and with rounds impacting on the frame of the gun itself, he moved it to another position and began engaging the enemy. This courageous action spurred those around him back into the fight; nonetheless, the weight of enemy fire continued.

For the third time and with full knowledge of the extant dangers, Lance Corporal Leakey exposed himself to enemy fire once more. Weighed down by over 60 lbs of equipment, he ran to the bottom of the hill, picked up the second machine gun and climbed back up the hill again: a round trip of more than 200 metres on steep terrain. Drawing the majority of the enemy fire, with rounds splashing around him, Lance Corporal Leakey overcame his fatigue to re-site the gun and return fire. This proved to be the turning point. Inspired by Lance Corporal Leakey’s actions, and with a heavy weight of fire now at their disposal, the force began to fight back with renewed ferocity. Having regained the initiative, Lance Corporal Leakey handed over the machine gun and led the extraction of the wounded officer to a point from which he could be safely evacuated. During this assault 11 insurgents were killed and 4 wounded, but the weight of enemy fire had effectively pinned down the command team. Displaying gritty leadership well above that expected of his rank, Lance Corporal Leakey’s actions single-handedly regained the initiative and prevented considerable loss of life, allowing a wounded US Marine officer to be evacuated. For this act of valour, Lance Corporal Leakey is highly deserving of significant national recognition.

 

Allianz Park

Saracens Bucket Collection

SaracensOur thanks go to Alex  Macintyre at Saracens for organising for SUPPORT OUR PARAS to bucket collect at the Saracens Home Ground, Alliance Park on Sunday 8th February 2015.

Dom Hill, the Regimental Welfare Officer, along with his two daughters Annabel, Emily, friends Chloe Howard, George Roberts, Tel Reeves, Colin and Sandie Smith turned out to help us.

We were also pleased that Pete Gospel & Warren Learmouth from the Eltham & Chislehurst branch of the PRA turned out to give their support.

Colin and Sandie tried their best but don’t think they made much difference to the total since Annabel and Emily were the stars of the day, coming up with a rap about Saracens and SUPPORT OUR PARAS, which the Saracens supporters appreciated and added to our collection.  Pete and Warren are seasoned bucket collectors and worked tirelessly to raise as much as possible.

Our total for the day was £1,340.  A big thank you goes to all who took part and to Saracens for giving us the opportunity to collect at their home game.

Lord Leycester Hospital

353 Annual Fundraising Dinner

353 Annual BallOn Saturday 7th February 2015, 353 held their annual ball in the magnificent setting of the Lord Leycester  Hospital, Warwick which dates back to 1400.

Tony and Sandi Lewis started the 353 Charity after losing their son Conrad in Afghanistan on the 11th Feb 2011.  There are 3 charities that benefit from their hard work and dedication, one being the SUPPORT OUR PARAS Charity.

The evening was well attended and a great time was had by all. Tony presented our Ops director Colin Smith MBE with a cheque for £20,353 which was gratefully received.

Tony and Sandi work tirelessly throughout the year raising funds by many means to support all three charities.  Tony and Sandi Lewis are very busy individuals but always make time to support our Regiment.

A BIG thank you to both for all you have done over many years.

Commando Speed March

Commando Speed March 2016

During the Second World War, potential British Commandos would get off the train at Spean Bridge and be expected to speed march through the Scottish Highlands to the gates of Achnacarry House carrying their fighting order weighing 36lbs.  Recruits were given just 1 hour to complete the 7 mile route, and those that failed to achieve this time would be returned to their parent unit.

In 1996, this speed march was reconstructed, based on this initial selection test, to raise funds for the Commando Benevolent Fund and the Airborne Forces Charities.  Not quite as far as the P Coy 10-miler, The Speed March has since become an established annual military event attracting over 300 entrants a year, each wearing either a maroon or green t shirt.

This event is open only to Military Personnel.  Members of the Armed Forces, Foreign Military, TA Units and Regimental Associations are all eligible to apply for a place in the Speed March.  Army Cadets wanting to participate must be accompanied by adult staff and Health and Safety rules are applied.  Cadets also carry a reduced load and participate in the ‘fun run’.

The event is usually held in March each year.  For more information, visit http://commandospeedmarch.webs.com/

Skydive

D-Day Skydive for SUPPORT OUR PARAS

Keep Calm and SkydiveOn 6 June 1944, Parachute Regiment soldiers dropped into France to support the Normandy landings to liberate Europe from the Nazis, defending the eastern flank of the invasion from German reinforcements, and attacking the Merville battery whose guns were trained on the beaches.

That was now 71 years ago. Many of the brave heroes who had waited for the 70th anniversary in 2014 have died since those commemorations. Their successors are still at the spearhead of the British Armed Forces. All do their job uncomplainingly but there is always a human cost.

To honour them and all those who fought in 1944 we want to get at least 30 people on a tandem freefall skydive at Hibaldstow, Lincolnshire to raise charity funds for SUPPORT OUR PARAS.

We offer a special charity jump rate of £190 for this event and you must in addition raise a separate amount of £200 or more – the sky’s the limit – for SUPPORT OUR PARAS.

The jump will take place on Saturday 6th June 2015- D-Day itself.

This is your chance to be part of a fantastic celebration and raise funds for a great cause.

For more information, or to book, please visit Skydive Hibaldstow’s website.

Cash Converters donates £6000 to Support Our Paras. 23rd Januar

Cash Converters donates £6,000 to SUPPORT OUR PARAS

Sponsors of the darts 2014 Players Championship, Cash Converters, has donated £6,000 to help support wounded soldiers after striking a deal with Master of Ceremonies, John McDonald.

On 23rd January, Operations Director at SUPPORT OUR PARAS, Colin Smith MBE and wounded soldier, Thomas Neathway, were presented with the £6,000 donation by John Walker MD, owner of a group of Cash Converters stores and operations director Mick Jones, at the Cash Converters store in Worcester.  Professional darts player, Terry Jenkins, was also at the store on Pump Street where customers watched his skills in action and Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Alan Amos, joined to support the occasion.

The 2014 Players Championship Finals, sponsored by second hand-retailer Cash Converters, was the seventh edition of the PDC darts tournament. The tournament, which took place in Minehead, saw the top 32 players from PDC Pro Tour Order of Merit take part. Gary Anderson was crowned the title with an 11-6 win against Adrian Lewis.

Cash Converters agreed with former paratrooper and leading darts announcer, John McDonald that they would donate £100 to SUPPORT OUR PARAS, his favoured charity, for every finish in the tournament that scored checkouts of 100 or more.

Richard Livesey, marketing director at Cash Converters said: “This latest PDC event saw a record number of outstandingly high scores which totaled 60 ton-plus finishes. This is not only great news for the champion darts players but also for SUPPORT OUR PARAS because we donated a total of £6,000 as a result.”

SUPPORT OUR PARAS helps to support soldiers and the families of those that served with The Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan and other conflicts who have been wounded or killed as a result.

Colin Smith MBE, said: “I want to thank Cash Converters for supporting our Paras in such a unique way. To agree to donate £100 for each time a darts player scored a 100+ checkout, not knowing how many players would achieve this, was brave and very generous. It is with such support that we as a charity are able to provide for our wounded paratroopers and their families and more importantly those who have lost their loved ones while serving on operations.

“The £6,000 they have donated is very much appreciated by myself, our charity and all of our soldiers who will benefit from this donation. The need to support our soldiers and families will continue for many years to come.”

PDC World Number 15, Terry “The Bull” Jenkins, said: “I’m delighted to handover such a huge sum of money to SUPPORT OUR PARAS on behalf of Cash Converters. I always enjoy giving my support to charity initiatives where I can. SUPPORT OUR PARAS is a fantastic charity with a strong association with the PDC. Knowing Cash Converters would donate £100 for each 100 plus checkout gave us all added motivation to do well. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Cash Converters Players Championship tournament.”

Donate by Text

Donate by Text

SUPPORT OUR PARAS supports The Parachute Regiment through the welfare of serving soldiers and families and those affected by recent operations, and through the maintenance of its regimental efficiency, ethos, spirit and heritage.  Without the generosity of our supporters, we would be unable to carry on the work that we do.

Thanks to JustTextGiving by Vodafone, you can now donate to our charity by texting PARA42 followed by the amount you wish to donate, to 70070.  You can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10.

As an example, to donate £5, you would text the following to 70070: PARA42 £5

Every penny you donate comes to us, and your network provider does not charge you for the SMS you send to make the donation.  It’s that simple – so get texting and spread the word!

If you have any questions about JustTextGiving, visit justtextgiving.co.uk

General Sport - Wembley Stadium Aerial Views

Win a medal at Wembley.

General Sport - Wembley Stadium Aerial Views

Fancy running in Wembley Stadium this year for us? On 15 March  the North London Half Marathon will be started by double Olympic Gold medallist Mo Farah, and you can be in it. We have just 5 places in this special event.

We need you to  raise £300 for SUPPORT OUR PARAS. Interested? Email secretary@supportourparas.org to get registered.

The Vitality North London Half Marathon takes you on a tour of North London and sees you cross the finish line in a celebratory stadium finish in front of thousands of cheering spectators!

Join us on Sunday 15th March 2015 for the first Vitality North London Half Marathon.

The race starts from Allianz Park in Barnet, home of the Saracens Rugby Club and takes a route through the leafy streets of North London all the way to Wembley Stadium. Runners will run the length of one of the most famous stadiums in the world!  The race then returns to Allianz Park to an epic stadium finish and your well-earned winner’s medal!
This is a race for everyone, from the sporting enthusiast to the first time runner, creating a race experience like no other

Reg Curtis book jacket wider version

New book from Para veteran supports us

Reg Curtis book coverA new book by a veteran original Para will help to support his modern day equivalent. The charity will receive the profits from sales. You can buy copies online.

When Reg Curtis enlisted with the Grenadier Guards in 1937, little did he know that two years later Britain would be plunged into the Second World War. Reg found himself fighting for King and Country in France and Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force and along with 300,000 other men was evacuated from Dunkirk in May 1940. Winston Churchill called for a new type of fighting soldier and Reg volunteered for commando and parachute training, one of the first 500 men who formed No. 2 Commando, later renamed the 11th SAS Battalion.

The training was intense and the techniques new and as yet untried. By the time they saw action the Battalion had again been renamed, and this time the name would stick: The 1st Parachute Battalion.

At Arnhem, in September 1944, Reg was shot and lay on his back as the battle raged around him for six days and nights. He was taken prisoner and his right leg amputated.

You will never hear these men speak of heroism, except when referring to the medics who tended them or the many brave civilians they met. But to the rest of us they are heroes of the highest rank, and Reg Curtis is one among them.

Our thanks go to Reg, to Geoffrey Holland and Pilots Publishing.