On Sunday 28 April 2019, Jonny Mortimer-Hendry joined thousands of other runners to take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Except Jonny was not just another runner. Jonny is ex-PARA and he chose to run the 26.2 mile course wearing body armour weighing 22lb to raise money and awareness of Mental Health support available from SUPPORT OUR PARAS.
Jonny writes, “When you go to war you take out a loan, when you return you pay it back. I joined The Parachute Regiment as an Officer, serving within all three Battalions. These included tours in Afghanistan, which I had the privilege of leading Paratroopers through an intense period of conflict. The challenge and camaraderie during this time presented a dichotomy that is hard to explain to those without similar experiences.
“I was involved in incidents that I struggled to process on return to the UK, the remedy I sought was to deploy back into the conflict zone that I’d recently left, catharsis in its most raw delivery. My first tour ended by arriving straight into Birmingham Hospital after flying back from Afghanistan with a seriously injured Paratrooper who died on landing in the UK.
“A few months later, I was back in Helmand. We were low on ammunition, surrounded by a very determined enemy and the man next to me had just been shot in the head. I remember feeling numb, I couldn’t process any more emotional responses. On returning to the UK after the last tour, I missed being away. To the credit of the Regiment’s welfare system, I started to seek help through SUPPORT OUR PARAS with processing my experiences.”
Jonny hopes that by speaking about his experiences, he will help those who are currently suffering in silence to come forward and seek help from the Regiment and the charity that are here to help them. He completed the marathon in an impressed 3h 28 and was still smiling at the finish line!
Paddy is a former member of 2 PARA and since leaving the regiment he has turned his athletic energy into beating strength speed stamina boxing martial arts records. His first fitness endurance record was in May 1987 and he has continued to break records since then.
A team of adventurers are attempting to reach the summit of Mount Everest. What makes them special? They are each disabled in one way or another.
The Adaptive Grand Slam team are attempting to become the first disabled team to climb the 7 highest peaks in the World as well as reaching the North and South Poles. They have learnt to climb using modified techniques and equipment in order to take on the world’s most challenging mountains.
The Everest team first attempted to reach the summit in 2012 with Walking With The Wounded. Disappointingly the expedition was called off due to bad weather and extreme danger on the slopes but the team are hopeful of better conditions this April 2019.
Two of the Everest team are ex-PARAS Martin Hewitt and Terry Byrne who were both wounded on operations in Afghanistan whilst serving with The Parachute Regiment.
A team of serving Paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, have won the Commando Speed March 2019.
This event is open only to serving soldiers and tests them over the course that prospective Commandos would have to complete.
The origins of the Spean Bridge Commando Speed March can be dated back to 1940, then however, this test was the first hurdle for would-be volunteers for Commando Training at Achnacarry House (Castle Commando) having just transited by rail for fourteen hours.
On arrival at Spean Bridge Station, the prospective Commandos would load kit bags onto a waiting truck and, under the lead of the staff, would then under take the 6.9 miles at the double, carrying battle order and rifle (weight 36lbs) to the grounds of Achnacarry House.
During 1996, it was decided to reconstruct the original World War II Commando speed march to raise funds for the Commando Benevolent Fund and SUPPORT OUR PARAS as well as other charities. This has now become an established annual event attracting over 300 entrants a year.
The Grandads of the Atlantic have done it! They have rowed across the Atlantic and become WORLD RECORD holders as the oldest pair to row any ocean!
Neil and Peter crossed the finish line of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge on 13 February 2019 after being at sea for 63 days.
The pair of ex-PARAS said they had enjoyed the experience and were grateful to Pegasus (their boat) for looking after them so well and not capsizing them once.
During the crossing, they were lucky enough to see some incredible sights, including whales under the boat and a plucky seagull that befriended them, staying on the boat for a good 8 hours before flying off again. Airborne!
Neil & Peter were met at the finish line by their friends and family looking slightly thinner, very tanned and sporting some impressive beards!
Their fundraising page has now got over £30,000 for their three chosen charities – RBLI, Dreams Come True and SUPPORT OUR PARAS, with money still coming in from supporters. You can click here to sponsor them.
We are incredibly proud of these two former Paras, proving that age is just a number and that Paras really are ‘Ready for Anything’! Utrinque Paratus.