We are pleased to be able to announce that our Guest Speaker for this year’s Charity Dinner will be Martin Hewitt.
Formerly 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.
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.
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!
They 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.
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.
Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing left Donington Park buoyed by another series of marked time improvements in the latest round of the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship.
The team arrived at the Derbyshire track with both Infiniti Q50 race cars for the first time this season, and saw both Derek Palmer and Richard Hawken take to the track.
The team’s Infiniti Q50 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.
Palmer, the 28-year-old from Lesmahagow, shaved an impressive 16-seconds off his lap times over the weekend. After clocking 1min 27.244secs in Saturday’s opening free practice, he improved dramatically through the day to set 1:11.930s in qualifying.
But the Scot’s weekend was ruined when his engine suffered a progressive power loss through Sunday’s opening 16-lap race. And despite again recording a series of improved lap times throughout the race, his car eventually slowed to a halt on his in-lap.
“I was very conscious the car was operating on reduced power for much of the race,” Palmer said afterwards, “and it was frustrating not to be able to maintain the rate of progress we’d established on Saturday.”
Palmer, realising his engine was struggling as he headed for the pits, had the sense to switch the unit off as he headed towards the final chicane. His actions were praised by engine supplier, Swindon.
“Derek’s actions certainly saved the engine from suffering further, more extensive damage,” a Swindon Engines spokesman said. The damaged engine will be returned to Swindon for detailed examination.
With Palmer ruled out of the day’s final two races, Hawken, making his debut in the 2015 BTCC, safely negotiated all three races, culminating in a top 20 finish in the day’s action-packed finale.
“It’s really been a bit of an extended test session for me this weekend,” the 42-year-old from Walton on Thames, said. “But I’ve definitely gained a significant amount of track time from which I can build on.”
The weekend was also rated a success by the injured Paratroopers working on the team’s race cars.
“Obviously we’ve had a couple of ups and downs this weekend,” former Para Corporal John Price explained. “Derek’s car went down, but it couldn’t be helped: it’s just one of those things in motorport.
“This weekend I was in charge of jacking Rich’s car up, basically making sure everything with the car was alright.
Considering this was the first time our side of the garage had had its on car to work on at a race weekend, everything really went very smoothly.
“Obviously there were a couple of teething problems — Rich had never run the car before, and it was his first time out on track at a BTCC meeting this season — but really the car ran fine all weekend. A testament to the way it’s been built by the team. I’m pretty impressed with what we’ve achieved again.”
John’s sentiments were mirrored by one of the guys working on the other side of the garage.
“It went really, really well this weekend,” former Corporal Mike Lewis said. “It was obviously unfortunate that Derek’s engine went, but the other car competed well right through the weekend.
We achieved another goal, getting Car 2 through all three races this weekend. We’ll have both cars back out next time at Thruxton.
The team worked really well again this weekend; even better than we did at Brands hatch, so it confirms we’re improving as a unit, and we’re getting faster and stronger.