From Lieutenant General John Lorimer DSO MBE, Colonel Commandant of The Parachute Regiment.
Lance Corporal Josh Leakey, who has been awarded the Victoria Cross for valour on the battlefield in southern Afghanistan, typifies the spirit and ethos of The Parachute Regiment. On the 22nd August 2013, Lance Corporal Leakey deployed as part of a mission into a Taliban stronghold, to disrupt a key insurgent group. Displaying inspirational leadership, well above that expected of his rank, Lance Corporal Leakey’s actions single-handedly regained the initiative and prevented considerable loss of life.
His exemplary conduct in the face of heavy and accurate enemy fire epitomises The Parachute Regiment’s watchwords of professionalism, discipline, courage and self-reliance. He is the recipient of the Nation’s highest honour that a soldier can receive and all ranks of The Parachute Regiment and the wider Airborne Forces family are exceptionally proud of him.
On their behalf and as Colonel Commandant of The Parachute Regiment, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Lance Corporal Leakey on this singular and most deserved award.
Lance Corporal Leakey’s valour serves to remind us of the words of Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein in his tribute to British paratroopers after the Second World War:
‘They have shown themselves to be as tenacious and determined in defence as they are courageous in attack. They are, in fact, men apart – every man an Emperor’.
Our 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.
On 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.
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’.
In 2015 teams from both 2 PARA and 3 PARA took part in this event.
On 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.