United States Marine Corps Marathon

For the second year running, a 7 man team of serving and retired Paratroopers will be taking part in the 40th Anniversary Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC to raise money for SUPPORT OUR PARAS.

The race will take place on Sunday 25 October this year and participants will embark on the 26.2-mile journey in the 40th MCM starting at 7:55 a.m.  There will be a live broadcast conducted by Comcast SportsNet with highlights of the MCM’s background and history.  The MCM promises a spectacular start with international flags from 54 different nations and the firing of the M2A1 Howitzer.

If you’d like to support our team, please visit their fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/PARA-USMC40thMarathon/


SUPPORT OUR PARAS is pleased to announce a new agreement with Barclays to fund the transitional support of soldiers into new employment after leaving the Parachute Regiment. This funding leads directly to new employability, enterprise and financial skills for soldiers which will sustain a successful new civilian life.

Lt Colonel Bruce Radbourne, Regimental Lt Colonel of the Parachute Regiment said:

BAR_Landscape_2C_V“We are delighted to receive Barclays’ support in this crucial area of our charity’s work. This welcome commitment to the welfare of the Regiment’s soldiers is part of a four year programme under the pioneering citizenship initiative of Barclays Armed Forces Transition, Employment and Resettlement Programme (the “AFTER Programme”).

Our Transition and Welfare Team assist those Parachute Regiment soldiers who have been injured or become ill as a result of their service, either on operations in Afghanistan and other conflicts, or through the Regiment’s demanding training programme and military parachuting. The aim is to ensure that those transitioning to civilian life through Medical Discharge are able to enter employment, education or training appropriate to their physical and mental condition, ability and potential.”

The Regiment’s Transition and Welfare Cell works with each individual and ensures that they receive the correct guidance and advice on their chosen next career.  The process is led, deliberately, by the veteran as this encourages motivation and self confidence and also prepares the individual for the realities of the civilian employment world.  In order to attract funding for training or education the veteran’s employment choice must meet the following criteria:

– The career choice must be within the physical and mental capabilities of the individual, not just now but as they get older.

– It must be appropriate and realistic (skills and potential).

– The veteran must be able to demonstrate through research that the career choice is in demand in the area in which they wish to settle and that it can provide a good standard of living.

These criteria ensure:

– That the individual does not waste the funding available and reduces their risk of becoming unemployed or unskilled, thus preventing them from re-entering the welfare chain in the future.

– Demonstrates that funding from external partners is used effectively and with good governance.

SUPPORT OUR PARAS is a charity (1131977) which supports The Parachute Regiment through the welfare of serving soldiers and families and those affected by recent operations, and through the maintenance of its regimental efficiency, ethos, spirit and heritage.

For more information: Laura McPhilemy Regimental Welfare Officer 01206 81 7102 or Stephen Cooper, Charity Director 07946 531139

I Played the Piano and Made the Tea – one soldiers time in 10 PARA

“As a child and young man whenever I asked ‘What did you do in the War, Dad?’ the reply was always the same; ‘I played the piano and made the tea.’

Private Alec Wilson enlisted in 1940 joining The Wiltshire Regiment for basic training and subsequently transferring to The 2nd Battalion, The Royal Sussex.  In 1942, the battalion began its conversion into one of the ‘new-fangled’ parachute battalions, becoming The Tenth Battalion, The Parachute Regiment.

I Played the Piano and Made The Tea‘I Played the Piano and Made the Tea’ details Alec’s time with 10 PARA and the action he saw including his time in Arnhem as part of Operation Market Garden as well as going on to talk about his time as a POW in Czechoslovakia.  Written by Alec’s son, the book even delves into the lives of some of the other men who served with Alec and the roles they had within the battle.

The books proceeds have previously been donated to The Parachute Regiment Afghanistan Trust, and following the closure of the charity, the author, also called Alec, has generously chosen to continue donating these proceeds to SUPPORT OUR PARAS.

Alec initially wrote the book as something for his children and grandchildren to read so they could learn about his father’s time in the military, but the book has since proved popular with a much wider audience.

In his foreword, Colonel John Waddy OBE, says “I hope, that in writing this book, Alec will inspire other sons, and grandsons, to discover the stories of their parents and grandparents, which otherwise will be lost for ever, especially in this electronic age when much seems to be so fleeting.”

If you are interested in buying a copy of ‘I Played the Piano and Made the Tea’, please get in touch with Alec on alec@willoughby-house.co.uk for more information.

Barclaycard jump with Red Devils for SUPPORT OUR PARAS

At the beginning of September, 7 members of Barclaycard staff joined The Red Devils to do a tandem skydive in aid of SUPPORT OUR PARAS.  Here, Richard tells us how the day went.

The day started with good weather and after the formalities of signing in and completing the brief training we were ready. The anticipation built through the day as we had been allocated teams that were due to jump in the afternoon. The waiting was by no means boring however as we were able to sit in the sun and watch the other teams jump and then parachute down. As fewer people remained left to jump we knew our turn would be soon.

Richard Taylor (2)Our team had been divided into smaller groups and finally it was the chance of the first two individuals to jump. They were given jump suits, hats (that were very fetching) along with gloves and harnesses before being shown to the plane. We watched as the plane taxied and took off then waited to spot it appear high above our heads. From the ground it was actually possible to see the people as they left the aircraft, falling as tiny dots in the air before they reached the appropriate altitude and the parachutes opened. It was difficult to tell who was who as they flew overhead and landed however we soon recognised some smiling and exhilarated faces.

The jump itself is something I would highly recommend and I would say that the anticipation of how it would feel was in fact a lot worse than the actual experience.

Richard Taylor (3)Apart from the exhilaration of falling at 120mph, the views were amazing and the professionalism and pleasant demeanour of all the people involved was incredible. It really is a fantastic way to raise some money for a very worthy cause. I for one am already looking forward to doing another!

If you want to make a donation towards their fundraising efforts, please visit their fundraising page. 

Palmer and Paras Racing defiant after Silverstone

Support Our Paras Racing and driver Derek Palmer emerged from the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone battered and bruised, but defiant.

That defiance was emboldened by the presence of a significant number of veterans and serving members of the Parachute Regiment on race day.

Palmer Silverstone Press-4And in addition to the Red Devils dropping in on the Northamptonshire circuit, the Parachute Regiment Band played the National Anthem for the podium ceremony at the end of Race 2.
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.

Staring 28th on the 30-car grid for Sunday’s opener, under clear blue skies, Palmer narrowly missed out on a top 20 finish, bringing his TENA Men-backed Infiniti home in 21st.

“I started 28th and finished 21st, so that was a big positive,” Palmer said. “But I lost a barrow load of time at the start avoiding an incident, which happened right in front of me, involving Stewart Lines and Nick Hamilton.

“The field is to tightly packed competitively, that it was difficult to close the gap back to the cars in front, but ultimately we were unlucky not to finish in the top 20.”

The 28-year-old Zurich-based racer from Lesmahagow then looked on course to finish in the top 20 in Race 2 before he became the meat in a BTCC sandwich.

Palmer Silverstone Press-3Pushing hard to pass the Audi of Hunter Abbott for 20th, Palmer was hit from the rear by the Toyota of Simon Belcher. The impact propelled the Scot into the rear of Abbott’s car causing damage to both.

While Belcher recovered to finish 22nd, Palmer lost two places, eventually bringing his damaged car home in 23rd.

“It was all pretty hectic at the start, but we did pretty well out of it,” Palmer, who started 25th, explained. “As the race progressed, Hunter caught me and got past, but I managed to hold on to the back of him.

“Then everything started to close up again towards the last six or seven laps. The guys ahead were struggling; I caught them; the group behind me caught me, and all of a sudden we were a train of about five or six cars on the same part of the tarmac.

“Ultimately we made contact coming down into Turns 2 and 3. I got pushed from the rear by Simon, which then catapulted me into the back of Hunter.

Palmer Silverstone Press-1“It’s frustrating, because again it ultimately it cost us a potential top 20 finish. It was a pity because we’d been racing and  competing really well up until that point.”

Starting from 29th on the grid for the day’s finale, Palmer brought his Support Our Paras Racing Infiniti home in 23rd, having struggled to maximise performance on the soft compound tyres.

“We knew from the degradation we’d seen in the opening two races on the medium compound that we’d just about got away with it over a race distance,” the Scot explained.

“So we knew when we put on the soft compound tyres it was going to be touch and go: and that’s exactly what happened.

“From our perspective, on our car, the performance just dropped off the edge of a cliff: ultimately we were about two-seconds a lap slower than where we wanted to be, despite me giving everything in the car.

“I think we were also loosing a wee bit of boost from the engine, but we need to analyse the figures to confirm that.

“But our biggest problem was that we simply couldn’t get the soft compound tyres to work for us this weekend.”

As BTCC rookie Palmer and his team head for the season finale at Brands Hatch in a fortnight, he reflected on Silverstone and his self-imposed raised expectations.

“Everyone knows we’ve had a tough debut season, essentially due to a number of circumstances we didn’t have any control over,” he said. “But we’ve risen to the challenges; and those challenges keep on coming.

Palmer Silverstone Press-2“Race 2 was going well, but again we were unfortunate to get involved in the incident with Hunter and Simon. It wasn’t an incident of my making, but once again we suffered because of it.

“We’ve got to the stage in the team’s development that we’re constantly raising the bar of expectation at every race weekend, and because of that we’re harsh on ourselves when we don’t meet those self-set goals.

“But we’ll persevere. We always knew how tough entering the BTCC was going to be, but we’re in this for the long haul and we know the results will come.”

Photos: Copyright Jakob Ebrey

The Parachute Regiment Charity