Wales vs Australia Bucket Collections for the Afghan Trust

November 30th, 2014

a1a3a2On Saturday 8 November we were invited to raise funds for the Afghanistan Trust at the Wales V Australia Rugby at The Millennium Stadium Cardiff. Our thanks go to 1 PARA for securing this invitation for us.


We also thank Sgt Rohan Byfield who organised our Paras that volunteered to help with the bucket collections and did a sterling job, also thanks to my wife Sandie, my daughter Sharon and grandson Oscar for their participation.

All of us on the day were given a ticket to the match: a shame Wales lost. We were given permission to visit the private boxes to raise funds; this was headed by Sharon who was accompanied by our Paras. They were welcomed by all the individuals in these boxes and they all made a great impression which resulted in excess of £3,550 from these boxes alone.

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All of those who took part also met both teams and had a photo opportunity with the Wales and Australian teams. Speaking to the lads after the event, all said they had great time and wouldn’t have missed it, they have also volunteered to help again if needed. I think this had something to do with the girls that flocked around them. Our Paras’ enthusiasm lasted all day and had a lot to do with the results we had.

All in all it was a fantastic day resulting in total in excess of £8,000. Thanks to all who took part, but mostly thanks to all at the Millennium Stadium for their help and support. A BIG thank you to the people of Cardiff for their consideration and generosity.

PARAs complete the US Marine Corps Marathon for the Afghan Trust

November 30th, 2014

1The US Marine Corp Marathon took place in Washington DC on Sunday 26 Oct 14. Nine individuals consisting of injured, serving, and veterans, Ash Howard, Pat Kearse, Gav Kirk, Daz Fuller, John West, Keith Sharkey, John Mason, Tony Fitzpatrick and Colin Smith, all our runners completed the marathon.

Sgt Major John West was our top runner arriving at the finish in 3hrs 5mins placing him 233 out of 30,000 runners: awesome. John was followed closely behind by one of our wounded, Cpl Tony Fitzpatrick, and the rest of the team achieved their own goals and were happy to finish the course in the time they achieved. A big thank you to our wounded who put a lot of effort into their run and achieved their expectations.2

Our thanks also go to John Mason, who not only challenged himself by doing the marathon but also threw himself into raising funds and raised in excess of £5,000 for the AT. Colin won’t allow me to publish his result, only that he completed the marathon and was just happy to get to the finish.

Our thanks go to the Allied Forces Foundation, Steven Cain CEO Allied Forces Foundation who extended the invite for the team to compete in the marathon; Stuart Taylor who arranged the trip along with the clearance for the team making it possible for them to compete in the marathon; Mick Audete, a US Navy disabled veteran, who looked after us day by day and accompanied us on visits to The White House (unfortunately the President wasn’t there) and the Pentagon. This was an awesome place to visit where we were welcomed by the Chief of the General Staff General Dempsey.3

This was a very interesting and a once in a lifetime visit and topped off by raising in excess of £16,000. Well done to all who took part. A big thank you to all those that sponsored the team and our appreciation to those who sponsored the cost of flights enabling the team to take part in this amazing challenge.4

GlenArt presents ‘A Night to Remember’ in Aid of the Afghanistan Trust

October 13th, 2014

NTR opusOn the 11th November GlenArt will be hosting ‘A Night to Remember’ in aid of the Afghanistan Trust. The night featuring stars from TV, Theatre and Opera, as well as members of The Parachute Regiment will commemorate the Centenary of the First World War as well as the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and Arnhem with Words and Music for Remembrance .

The event will be held at St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street at 630pm on the 11th of November.

For more information and to book tickets please visit GlenArt

The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Memorial Service – St Lawrence Jewry

September 29th, 2014

Airborne Forces Memorial Service. 

poppies5The Airborne Forces Memorial Service will be held at 1130 hours on Friday 7 November 2014 at St Lawrence Jewry by Guildhall.  All those who have an affiliation with Airborne Forces and would like to attend would be very welcome.  The Service will be followed by a reception where a light snack and refreshments will be provided.  All those who have attended the service are encouraged to attend and details of the location will be broadcast at the service

To help with catering numbers, please confirm your attendance by emailing Amy at  or by phoning her on 01206 817082


Jez Harris’ completes his challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

September 2nd, 2014

On the 4th September Jez Harris undertook an epic challenge by attempting an eleven day trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (5898m). Jez is keen to point out  that ‘for a middle aged desk bound office worker this ain’t a walk in the park (although technically it is in Tanzania’s National Park)’ .jez harris

Earlier this year Jez decided that it was time he got out from behind his desk and did something adventurous in life. Combined with an inspirational talk given by Colonel Stuart Tootal last year, detailing the fantastic work the charity does, the trip was born. Jez is concerned there must be a mid life crisis in there somewhere also!Kilimanjaro_road_to_KiboHut(2)

Jez trained hard for this trip and completed the Three Peaks Challenge in June in 21 hours 25 mins, of which climbing times were Nevis – 4:20, Scafell Pike – 3:25 and Snowdon – 3:35. This achievement gave Jez a lot of confidence with regards to his attempted ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro, and it was founded. Jez reached the summit as planned and proudly displayed the Afghanistan Trust flag.jez Harris2

Jez paid for the cost of the trip himself, so all the money he has raised on his JustGiving page, nearing the £1500 mark at this point, comes directly to The Afghanistan Trust. If you would like to support Jez please visit his Justgiving Page here.


August 18th, 2014

marathonIntroduction The mission for the Parachute Regiment Afghanistan Trust is to take a combined team of Wounded, non-wounded, serving and veterans of The Parachute Regiment to take part in the USMC assisted Marathon on the 26 Oct 2014 in Washington USA.

The aim is to raise funds for The Afghanistan Trust-Supporting Our Paras and it is Paras helping their comrades. Not only will it raise funds but will also give our wounded taking part a sense of achievement and an example to others.

Each member of the team have paid £247 each to cover entry and accommodation cost. We are looking for sponsorship to cover the cost of return flights to Washington USA. Flights would leave from a central UK airport arriving at Dulles Airport Washington DC. Flights range between £500 and £550 per person, we are looking at cheaper flights but need to take our injured paratroopers needs into consideration.

We would welcome any sponsorship for flights you can sponsor between one and ten flights.

Please read the stories of all those taking part in this Marathon and follow the just giving link:




Capt Ashley Howard, currently serves as the Adjutant of the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. Ash joined the Paras in 2000 and has since served on Op TELIC 1 in Iraq, and 4 tours of Afghanistan. This is his second marathon; he ran London 2013 carrying 40lbs of weight raising funds for a military charity

Captain Pat Kearse, a serving officer with The Parachute Regiment. In his youth he was a keen rugby player and remains an avid fan today, along with enjoying running, cycling and swimming in his spare time. Having served in Afghanistan and witnessed the life changing injuries experienced by many of his friends and comrades within the Parachute Regiment over the past decade of campaigning, Pat said he is both proud and honoured to run the USMC Marathon for such a worthy cause as the Afghanistan Trust.

Sergeant Major John West, has served some 21 Years with the regiment and is currently employed as the senior Warrant Officer in charge of the selection of recruits and soldiers from other units that want to serve with Airborne Forces. John has completed several operational tours in Northern Ireland Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a chance to raise funds through the Afghan Trust for those we have served with.

Sergeant Major Gavin Kirk, WO2 Gav Kirk is currently serving with the Parachute Regiment; and has been in the Army 18 ½ years. During this time Gavin has served with two of the Battalions and had the pleasure of being on the Pre Para Selection staff. Kirk has been on 6 Operational Tours around the World including: Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan. His hobbies are football, running, fishing and most of all keeping fit.

Over the years Kirk has seen close friends have both physical and psychological injuries and some paying the ultimate sacrifice having been killed on active service.This is why he is looking to raise funding and awareness for the Afghanistan Trust.

C/Sgt Keith Sharkey, is currently a serving member and has served 19 years with The Regiment. During this time Keith has served in over 10 operational tours around the Globe (Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan). His hobbies are Skydiving, Football and most of all keeping fit. Having seen friends who have mental and physical disabilities due to military service makes him want to go that extra mile by doing charity events such as this so that we can help them have as much a normal life as possible. Keith stated that The Afghan Trust is a great charity and it is my honour to help them fund raise so they can help our Soldiers.

Cpl Tony Fitzpatrick, was injured on the morning of the 30th December 2010 Cpl Fitzpatrick’s multiple was tasked to carry out a strike operation in the area of Nar-e-sarad South Helmand province. Cpl Fitzpatrick was the multiple second in command, his unit was ambushed from numerous enemy firing locations. From this initial enemy contact Cpl Fitzpatrick was hit three times in the right leg and once in the left leg. Tony was airlifted out from point of wounding by an American PEDRO call sign and flown back to the first line field hospital at Camp Bastion.

Within 20 hours of being wounded Cpl Fitzpatrick was air lifted back to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, where he stayed for eight weeks. He was told he may lose his right leg. But the outstanding skill of the surgical team treating him managed to save his leg and with the help of rehab at Headly Court he made a full recovery.

Cpl Fitzpatrick is now a training corporal at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick teaching the future generations of Paratroopers. This is a great opportunity to help raise funds for our own with the Afghan Trust.


Non serving:

Colin Smith MBE is the CEO of the Afghanistan Trust. Colin has over 40 years’ service with the Parachute Regiment. His service started as a Private Soldier in 1969, he went through the ranks and was commissioned in 1997. Colin was awarded an MBE for his service. He left the service in October 2011 and has been the CEO of the Afghan  Trust for 4 years. Colin completed many marathons when he was a serving but has not run a marathon for more than 8 years. Is Colin 63 too old for this! A great way to give back to those that given their all.

John Mason currently works for Bloomberg as one of its global business heads based out of London. He has been a keen supporter of the Afghanistan Trust for many years. John took part in the London Marathon and the Paras 10 to help raise funds for the AT. John is a veteran of the Territorial Army of many years John is often heard saying “I know I’m too old for this…”

Daren Fuller (a single amputee) is a former C/Sgt 2 Para. Daren served 20 years with the Regiment and deployed on 11operations during this time including N Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. Daren was injured on Op Herrick 8 resulting in his right arm having to be amputated. Daren said he wants to raise funds for the AT so they can continue to give support where needed. Daren is now working closely on voluntary basis with the Trust assisting with a new project for wounded soldiers.

Tom Neathway (Triple Amputee) Ex 2 Para. Former Cpl 2 PARA

After joining the Parachute Regiment in 2001 Tom went on to do tours in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. On July 22nd 2008, whilst serving out in Afghanistan he triggered a booby trap IED and sustained life-changing injuries, Tom loss of both his legs and his left arm. In August 2013 he left the army and is currently training to do achieve new skills. Tom stated that without the support of The Parachute Afghanistan Trust charity none of this would be possible and I am forever truly grateful.

If you wish to support this team please go to the just giving link below or contact Colin Smith:

ceo@afghanistantrust.orgor go to the web site


July 31st, 2014

Pete's Para Challenge - full facebook address versionPete Digby is taking part in an incredible endurance challenge to raise money for the Afghanistan Trust.

Ordinarily you may think running 150 miles would be an awe-inspiring feat of stamina, but Pete is completing the arduous task pulling a 250 kilo oven behind him!

On Saturday 6th September he will depart from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and arrive at the Guildhall in the City of London on Sunday 14th September.

Big-hearted Pete is focused on raising awareness for the Afghanistan Trust, but crucially raising as much money as he can to help those who have made huge sacrifices during the recent campaign in Afghanistan.

To donate you can visit Pete’s Just giving page at:

Or to keep in touch with his amazing adventure you can follow him on social media:

It really is an incredible task he has set himself, so please do support him!


July 30th, 2014

The Afghanistan Trust thanks all who attended, some of who have attended year after year. It is only with this continued support that the Summer Ball is such a success.

This year we were pleased to have the Band of The Parachute Regiment who started the evening with professionalism and great music which was a fantastic start to the Ball.  Our guests enjoyed a free-fall display by the Red Devils who made an impressive display across the skies of London.                   reddevilsband



There was a display of weapons and  equipment used by the Para’s during World  War 2.  Our thanks go to The Parachute  Regiment’s Museum for their Participation.




Time to move to the dining room. The evening began with the 4Para’s Colour Party marching into the dining room and posting The Regimental Colours.


After dinner Arnhem veteran Johnny Peters who is over 90 years of age recalled his time as a Glider Veteran during the Battle for Arnhem. He spoke of the war veteran’s pensions and the need for the support that the Afghanistan Trust gives to our soldiers.  We thank Johnny for his attendance and support to the Afghan Trust.  image014Tom Neathway, a wounded soldier from The Regiment took to the stage and spoke candidly about his experiences and explained how The Afghanistan Trust has helped him since he received his injuries. Tom is a member of a team along with some other wounded ex-soldiers of the Regiment.  The audience listened to Tom and Johnny’s stories and showed their appreciation with a fantastic round of applause. image005


Rob Wigley of the Wigley Group Presented the Chairman Col Stuart Tootal with a cheque of £14,500 which was raised at the Wrigley’s Annual Golf and Gala Ball in June.





After the speeches, the auction began. The main item auctioned off was a flight in a Spitfire which drew a bid of £6,800.  Two items were kindly donated by NISSAN which included their VIP Box at The O2 for 18 people, and 2VIP tickets for a British Supper Bike event at Silverstone. We thank NISSAN for their continued support. A Tandem Jump and many other auction items made for a very successful auction.

Now it was time to hit the dance floor, relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. The evening was a great success raising substantial funds for the Trust.



Thank you goes to Bernard Cribbins and his wife Jill for their attendance. Bernard is an ex Para and  attended our St Dunstan’s  Remembrance Service as the main speaker.


We thank all those who attended, supported us and those who made contributions on the evening in many ways.



A final and massive thank you must go to BARCLAYS who sponsored the whole event for a second year. BARCLAYS have been a great supporter of the Afghanistan Trust since its conception and we send our heartfelt appreciation to all at BARCLAYS.       


Please follow this link to see more pictures from the ball:      





July 29th, 2014

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What a success story The Team Have completed their mission in style and raised several thousands for our wounded Paras and their families.

Matt, Jord, Steve and Paul set themselves a massive challenge to complete a bike ride starting 17th of Sept from Westbury, Salisbury and to arrive at the Frost Bridge and the DZ Arnhem on 20th Sept to coincide with Operation Market Garden’s 70th Anniversary.


On the evening of the 17th Sept, prior to their departure, the team stopped at Matt’s local ‘The Constitution’ in Pimlico in London for a Charity Bash which raised £1500 in an auction . Fun over it was now time to get in the saddle and earn some more free blisters. AT arnhem bike ride

The next leg finished at Harwich via Colchester before boarding the ferry to the Hook of Holland. The ferry gave them a welcome break and time to think about the long journey to Arnhem but this didn’t deter them and they were determent to finish their challenge. AT arnhem bike ride2

The next stage of their journey took them from Rotterdam to Arnhem which they made within the time they allotted themselves,  and next morning they were back on the bikes and headed where every Paratrooper goes on Airborne Forces Day in Arnhem – the DZ.

Knowing these men I’m sure they had a great weekend in Arnhem I only hope they left the bikes and walked back to their accommodation.AT arnhem bike ride3


This was an awesome challenge carried out by some awesome men. Well done to you all and many thanks for choosing to raise funds for The Afghanistan Trust. The team raised the fantastic sum of £5,403 to date which will go to support the Parachute Regiment Family.

The JustGiving page remains open for anybody who wishes to donate   “Many Thanks”

Copyright © 2012 The Afghanistan Trust. Registered Charity Number 1121647. The Parachute Regiment, Merville Barracks, Colchester, Essex, CO2 7UT