All posts by natalie


1-2-3 finish for Palmer and ParasRacing

Derek Palmer bagged a 1-2-3 finish for Support Our Paras Racing today when he scored the team’s first British Touring Car Championship points.

Palmer, racing for the first time this season as an Independent — and watched by the Red Devils who dropped in — delivered three impressive drives at Oulton Park, notching points in all three races.

Copyright Jakob Ebrey
Copyright Jakob Ebrey

After scoring his first point after finishing 15th in class in the opener, Palmer improved to 14th in Race 2 — registering two points — before going one step further in the day’s final, scoring three points for 13th.

“That’s mega: awesome,” Palmer said after being told of his achievements. “It’s the perfect way to end what has been a difficult few weeks for the team. Now we have a new, solid base to work and develop from. I’m very happy.”

This was the first weekend Support Our Paras Racing had raced since Infiniti withdrew its backing for the new team. The Mallory Park-based team’s race cars are prepared by injured ex-servicemen from the Parachute Regiment, with all team profits being donated to Support Our Paras, the official Regiment charity.

It was a day of notable firsts for the fledgling team. Not only did Support Our Paras Racing score its first 19 points in the Independents Team Trophy, but Palmer took three podium finishes in the Jack Sears Trophy for BTCC rookies.

After finishing third in the opening two races, Palmer was second in the day’s final race. He now stands fourth in the race for the prestigious Jack Sears Trophy, just 18 points off third. And Palmer was delighted with his, and the team’s performances throughout the weekend, especially in the day’s final race.

“I’m very happy,” the 28-year-old admitted. “The race pace is significantly improved, and we can now comfortably mix it with the guys in the midfield. I struggled a little bit to bring the tyres up to temperature at the start of Race 3, but overall I’m really happy: our pace is actually there now.

“The pace in Race 3 was mega. I managed to keep Rob Collard — a BTCC race winner — behind me for a few laps, which was really encouraging, and showed how we’ve improved our pace. That was a nice feeling.

Copyright Jakob Ebrey
Copyright Jakob Ebrey

“I flat-spotted the tyres on Lap 1, so I was driving with a flat-spot the whole race. It was getting worse and worse, so I was happy it lasted to the end.

“We’ve now established a new baseline for future development. This weekend has been massive for us, and begins to show the true potential of the car.

“It’s been our best race weekend so far this season, and our pace is there. We’re hanging on in there now with the midfield, so yeh, let’s move further forward.”

*Support Our Paras Racing is back in action on June 27/28 at Croft.

Photos: Copyright Jakob Ebrey

Charity Dinner Guest Speaker

We are pleased to be able to announce that our Guest Speaker for this year’s Charity Dinner will be Martin Hewitt.

Martin HewittFormerly a commissioned officer in The Parachute Regiment, Martin worked on operations and training exercises in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America before being shot in Afghanistan in 2007 leaving his right arm completely paralysed.

Since leaving the army, Martin has made the record books several times as Captain of the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team.  He has represented Great Britain in the Paralympic World Championships competing in Downhill Ski racing.

In 2011, Martin was part of a team that walked unsupported to the Geographical North Pole along with HRH Prince Harry and in 2012, he climbed Mt Manaslu 8163M, Mt McKinley and led a team on Mt Everest 8848M.

Martin is now a Managing Director of Fieri Leadership and Development.  Fieri specialise in developing teams and leaders that operate under high pressure in often hazardous environments.  Martin is currently developing multiple teams to establish several world firsts to complete the Adaptive Grand Slam, summiting the 7 highest peaks on the 7 continents and walk unsupported to the North and South Poles.

Martin is a regular presenter on overcoming adversity, leadership and team development, and we look forward to welcoming him to the HAC on 14 July.

Coan Gildart

Young boxer supports our PARAS

We were delighted to hear that one of our younger supporters has been going from strength to strength whilst raising awareness of SUPPORT OUR PARAS.

Three years ago, when asked to write about their heroes at school, 12 year old Coan Gildart chose to write about Cpl Mark Wright GC, who was KIA in 2006.  Coan’s story was featured in his local paper and copies were sent to us, and Cpl Wright’s parents.  Last year, Coan competed in the regional boxing championships, with Cpl Wright’s parents among his supporters when he was in the final.

Up to now, Coan has had 14 bouts, winning 12 of these, and he went on to win the North West England title in April 2015 for the second time, becoming one of very few junior boxers to win it for two consecutive years.  Last month he also won the Merseyside/Cheshire title and just last week he won the Midlands title and England quarter final.  Coan will be boxing in the All England National Schoolboy Semi-Final next weekend in Worcester.

Coan boxes with the SUPPORT OUR PARAS logo on his shorts and also has Utrinque Paratus embroidered on his waistband.  He has been supported at many matches by members of the Regiment, both serving and veterans, and we are grateful to Coan for spreading the word about the charity.

We wish Coan all the very best for the semi-final on Sunday.

Kilimanjaro Challenge

Kilimanjaro Challenge

Kertrina and Barry Jones, long-time supporters of the charity have decided to take on the Kilimanjaro Challenge – their biggest challenge to date!

As well as both completing six PARAS’10 events, Kertrina has also done two half marathons and Barry has done one half marathon, all for the charity.  In 2014, they attempted the Three Peaks challenge, but unfortunately Barry ended his challenge just short of the Ben Nevis summit due to injury.  Kertrina only managed to complete Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike due to travel and work commitments, so naturally, they are re-attempting all three again this June!

Kertrina and Barry JonesThey will be doing the PARAS’10 again this year, with Barry attempting the double.  To Kertrina’s utter disappointment, she will only be able to complete Catterick since she will be busy at university in July as she completes her Masters.

Their activities for 2015 don’t stop there.  Barry will be doing the Fan Dance in July, on their anniversary, with Kertrina cheering him on.  In October, they will be swapping roles as Kertrina completes another half marathon, with Barry cheering her on.

Their Kilimanjaro Challenge will be in July 2016, so there is every chance that they will book something else in prior to that, but if you would like to donate to their Kilimanjaro Challenge, you can visit their JustGiving page here.

‘From Pit to Palace’ – one man’s story

Recently published, ‘From Pit to Palace’ tells the story of one man’s military career.  Major Tom Godwin MBE initially started his working life as an electrician before joining the army briefly.  Tom made a career change when he sampled police work, following in his father’s footsteps, and it was during this time that he met his wife.

Before they settled down for a quiet life in Yorkshire, Tom decided he wanted more from life, and re-joined The Parachute Regiment.  In the years that followed, Tom rose through the ranks to Major and as is the case with most military careers, there was never a dull moment!

Sonia Cameron Jacks describes the book as, “A TOUR DE FORCE, Interesting, informative and sometimes very amusing.  A good read.”

Tom has kindly said 10% of personal sales will be donated to SUPPORT OUR PARAS, which we are extremely grateful for.  Pick up your copy today from Amazon.