A former Paratrooper is gearing up for his next big boxing fight to raise vital funds for Support Our Paras, the charity that supported him after life-changing injuries in Afghanistan.
Michael Lewis, 36, is a former Paratrooper who served with the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment and is set to compete in his third boxing match on Saturday 14th September in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
Despite being a below the knee amputee that hasn’t stopped Michael from training six days a week in the lead up to the big fight and he hopes to inspire others, by getting back in the ring after his latest fight in July.
Michael said “After my first match, which ended in a defeat, I am determined to come back fighting. I proved this by winning my second fight in just one minute thirty eight seconds in round one under boxing coach Lee Edwards of BST Academy, Northampton. Getting back into training and into the ring has to be one of the hardest things I have done, but I want to promote Support Our Paras for what it is, showing that donations really do help individuals like myself and all those within the Airborne Forces community including families.”
“Since losing my leg in 2008 during service in Afghanistan, I have been focused on challenging myself no matter what the limitations and in the past have completed two mud runs and The Royal Parks Half Marathon just last year. All donations go towards Support Our Paras and I am proof of where the money goes and how it helps. They provided me a active prosthetic foot and funded a new wet room which was a welcome addition to my home.”
Michael served with the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment as a Corporal and had been in the Army since 2000. In 2008 everything changed, with only six weeks left to go of his tour before he returned home, Michael and his platoon were engaged in an intense fire-fight and Michael was hit by a British Artillery 105mm round. He was left with blast wounds which nearly severed his left arm, shrapnel wounds to his left knee and blast wounds to his right leg which led to a below knee amputation.
The injures lead to Michael being medically discharged from the Army in 2012 and life as Michael knew it was changed forever, consequently his dream of serving in the British Armed Forces was over. However, through Michael’s treatment, rehabilitation and transition from military to civilian street Support Our Paras has been there for him.
For those who would like to donate towards Michael’s boxing challenge fund they can visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Michael-Lewis52
Boxing Match – Saturday 14th September. For tickets please email Michael Lewis: email@example.com
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:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
A 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.