Actor revisits his Paratrooper days

Dr Who and The Wombles star Bernard Cribbins OBE has visited Colchester’s Merville Barracks to relive his days as a paratrooper.

Mr Cribbins did National Service with 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment between 1947 and 1949, serving in Palestine and Germany. A training report described him as “a good performer”, a label which he took forward into a stage and screen career.

Friday 15 January’s visit saw Mr Cribbins climb aboard the barrack’s Dakota – the aircraft from which he would have jumped from – and meet the current crop of 3 PARA soldiers and see the weaponry and equipment they use. The 87-year-old presented £17,500 to the Regiment’s official charity Support Our Paras, which was raised through a fly fishing event at Duncton Mill Fishery in Sussex in October. The event had been organised by Iain Liddell, chief executive of logistics firm Uniserve and Peter Cockwill, of Albury Game Angling.

Mr Cribbins said: “Once a paratrooper always a paratrooper. It is something that you chose to do and that means you have made a choice to become something special. I had been acting in repertory theatre before I joined the Army and that gave me discipline, but the Paras really cemented it in me. The discipline to make sure you play the part that other people are relying on you to do is the same in the Paras and acting.

“It’s been wonderful to come and visit The Parachute Regiment again. I’m equally delighted to present money to Support Our Paras to fund the excellent work the charity does. The credit for raising the money belongs to Iain and Peter and we are hoping to run another fundraising event soon.”

Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Radbourne, Regimental Lieutenant Colonel of The Parachute Regiment, said: “It has been a pleasure to host Bernard Cribbins and show him how The Parachute Regiment has changed in the last 70 years, while also maintaining our proud heritage and traditions. The hard work that has been put into raising such a fantastic sum of money for Support Our Paras is hugely appreciated and demonstrates the close and supportive bonds that there are between all ex-paratroopers.

“We would like to think that Mr Cribbins’ time with The Parachute Regiment gave him the determination, discipline and humility that he needed to go on and forge a varied and successful career in show business.”

A huge thank you to Bernard, Iain and Peter  for all their hard work and support.

Links of interest:

BBC Look East

ITV Anglia


Fishing Day Video – YouTube

Operation Long Drive – June 2016

Haydon and Me-An Bend are undertaking a massive challenge and trip of a lifetime by driving to Australia from the UK in aid of two charities which are close to their hearts – SUPPORT OUR PARAS and  Anthony Nolan.

The idea started when Haydon and Me-An travelled around South East Asia and Australia in 2007. When looking at the prices of 4×4 vehicles, they thought it would be a great idea to drive one of these vehicles back to Warwickshire. The idea was immediately laughed off by friends as being ridiculous.

Seven years have passed and Haydon has swapped carpentry for soldiering and joined The Parachute Regiment, completing 3 tours of duty in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Me-An has embarked on a career as a Chartered Accountant. During this time, the idea of the trip never left them.

The time is now right and they have started implementing the logistics of “Operation Long Drive”. They recently got married and are planning to drive their Land Rover Defender ‘Mary’ to start their honeymoon.

You can keep up to date with the whole journey on their website:,  Facebook and  Twitter.

If you would like to donate please visit:

The Vitality British 10K London Run

What a way to see central London!

The Vitality British 10K London Run is staged on the world’s greatest road race route through the heart of Central London, passing many of the capital’s truly world class historic landmarks.

Starting on Piccadilly outside The Calvary & Guards Club, runners will pass the new WW2 Bomber Command Memorial, The Ritz, St. James’s Palace, Trafalgar Square,  St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey before finishing on Whitehall after passing Downing Street  (the official London residence of British Prime Ministers) and The Cenotaph, the national memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  For more information, visit

Places: This year we have 18 places up for grabs!

Costs and Sponsorship: We ask for anyone wishing to join up to pay a £35 deposit which covers the cost of the place and raise £200 in sponsorship money towards the charity. In the event of completing the race and raising £200 your £35 cheque will be destroyed (we have to pay for these places, so your deposit protects us if you don’t show up!)

Proposed Date: Sunday 10th July 2016

Contact:  or 01206 817074 for more information or to sign up.


Commando Speed March 2016

Event Date: 12 March 2016

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.

The event is usually held in March each year. This year it will be held on 12 March.  For more information, visit

Another great way to raise funds for SUPPORT OUR PARAS and you can even use it as training for the PARAS’ 10.

PARAS’10 Colchester 15th November 2015

Some 950+ runners – a mix of civilian, serving and ex-military – took part in the fourth PARAS’10 charity challenge in Colchester on Sunday 15 Nov. TAB finishers included Stu Pearson, who lost a leg at Kajaki and 79 year-old Mike Doyle, ex RAF Regt. The event took place in gusting winds, a change from the high heat and humidity which had forced a reluctant postponement in July.

After a silence in memory of those killed in service and in the terrorist attacks in Paris, the field was briefed to ‘Get a Grip and crack on’ and set off to the sound of a 7RHA 105mm Light Gun. The course ran through Merville Barracks and Friday Woods, over the hills and water obstacles crossed by soldiers on training runs. Some ‘airborne activity’ in the woods added to the unique atmosphere. Lt Gen Lorimer awarded the trophies to the winners.

With individual sponsorship still coming in, the Colchester event is estimated to raise some £45k for SUPPORT OUR PARAS; the series total including Catterick is closer to £75k. Colchester’s proximity to London and the City makes this an ideal vehicle for a corporate challenge event for teams of 4. Any company that may wish to sponsor the PARAS’10 event or a corporate challenge team trophy should contact Stephen Cooper on

Upcoming Events – Don’t miss out! In 2016 the PARAS’10 will be taking place in Colchester on 15th May and Catterick 04th September. There is an Early Bird offer on until 16h December, so get it quick! For more information and to enter please click the link

Credit: Cpl Reddy, 16 Air Assault Brigade, Army Media Ops for the featured image


The Parachute Regiment Charity