Devizes to Westminster map

Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race

Hamish and Henry Canoe RaceThis Easter, Hamish Lorimer and Henry Anthony will be taking part in the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race (DWICR) to raise money for SUPPORT OUR PARAS. The DWICR is over four days and starts in Devizes, Wiltshire, finishing just downstream of Westminster Bridge in Central London, opposite the Houses of Parliament.  This race has been held annually over the Easter Weekend since 1948.

The race is 125 miles long and has 77 portages. The first 52 miles are along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Reading, the next 55 miles are on the River Thames to Teddington. The final 17 mile section is on the tidal portion of the Thames.

The two 17 year olds will start the race on 3rd April, paddling about 35 miles for each of the first 3 days and camping overnight.  Then, with just 17 miles left, they plan on leaving in the early hours of 6th April to reach Westminster for breakfast.

The race is a severe test of skill, stamina and planning and Hamish and Henry have been training hard.  We wish these two aspiring Paratroopers all the very best, and extend our thanks for choosing to raise money for SUPPORT OUR PARAS.

If you would like to show your support, you can visit Hamish and Henry’s fundraising page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/HamishandHenry

3 PARA boxing

3 PARA vs 82nd Airborne Boxing Night

CO 3 PARA intends to have the Battalion Boxing Team box a Team from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on 22 Apr 15.

The event will take place at the end of the CJOAX and will mark the end of the exercise and the ongoing joint operability between the 82nd Airborne and ourselves; more importantly it will be used to commemorate the end of our operations in Afghanistan.

The event has been talked about and indeed planned previously but we are now confirming that it will take place and the 82nd Airborne are enthusiastic about the importance of this event. We have managed to get Sgt Jackson who was wounded in action out to visit this event courtesy of SUPPORT OUR PARAS and would look to raise the profile of the charity through this event.

It is appreciated that getting to this event will be very difficult, not only by the geography, but in getting onto the base at Fort Bragg.  However, if there are people who wish to donate and attend, then we may be able to get them onto the base. Clearly the cost of travel and accommodation would be down to the individual.

This Boxing Event is a significant milestone which marks the end of one era of operations and looks forward to the next chapter in our ‘special relationship’ with the 82nd Airborne Division. To end the CJOAX with this boxing match will be the culmination of over 12 months of joint inter-operability focus which paves the way for interoperability in the future. We have history behind us and a superb way forward with the US Army.

This event will be an excellent opportunity to recognise those who have sacrificed so much and to ensure they feel valued as part of our Battalion and indeed the Regiment. Your support in raising funds for SUPPORT OUR PARAS is greatly appreciated.

Requests to attend should be sent to Major Des Hendry on djhendry3@gmail.com

Ringside

John McDonald Supports Our Paras

John McDonaldJohn McDonald is a former member of the Parachute Regiment and has worked tirelessly to support our Regiment’s charities.

John is currently a Master of Ceremonies for Sky Sports and has often secured the support of Sky darts players and boxers to help raise funds to support our Paras.

This time, John has come up with the fantastic idea to have a pair of boxing gloves on the set of Sky’s show Ringside for a year.  Throughout the year, boxers and other sports personalities who appear as guests on the show will be asked to sign the gloves and show their support for SUPPORT OUR PARAS.  These gloves will be one of a kind and an extremely unique item that will be auctioned off at the end of the year.

We will keep you updated with the names of those who have signed the gloves so far.

PARA Platoon

PARA Platoon Documentary Shortlisted For Award

In 2014, Forces TV filmed a series entitled ‘PARA Platoon: Earning the Maroon Beret’ which gave people the chance to have a look at what it takes to become a Paratrooper by following recruits through training.

The series, which was filmed at PARA Coy based at Catterick Garrison, has been short listed for the “Best Documentary” award in this year’s EVCOM Screen Awards.  The EVCOM Screen Awards are recognised as the premier mark of excellence for effective business, television, film, video and digital media.  Winning an EVCOM Screen Award brings with it national and international recognition and there is no higher accolade for creativity, originality, production expertise and sheer effectiveness in communication.

The winner’s will be announced at a dinner on 27th March but in the meantime, if you missed it the first time round, check out PARA Platoon here.

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.  This year, three PARA team entered and finished in the top five.  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.