Jez Harris’ attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro begins

September 2nd, 2014

On the 4th September Jez Harris is undertaking 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)’ .Kilimanjaro_road_to_KiboHut(2)

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!

Jez has been training 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 has given Jez a lot of confidence with regards to his attempted ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro, and he hopes to reach the summit on the 11th September, where he will display the Para Regt Flag.jez harris

Jez has paid for the cost of the trip himself, so all the money he has raised on his JustGiving page, well over £1000 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

GlenArt’s ‘Dogs On Parade’ in support of The Afghanistan Trust

August 6th, 2014

GlenArt in support of The Afghanistan Trust, cordially invites you to attend ‘Dogs on Parade’, an event celebrating Military dogs from World War One to Afghanistan.

‘Dogs on Parade’ is to be held on September 7th at The Essex Dog Training Centre, Brentwood, and will be hosted by Peter Purves, (Crufts, Blue Peter and Dr Who) and attended by Treo, the ‘World’s Bravest Dog’. There will be lots of fun classes to enter, so bring your dog and all the family to the home of The Essex Dog Display Team and support GlenArt raise funds for The Afghanistan Trust.

Tickets are available free to members and former members of The Parachute Regiment and their families although a donation would be appreciated.

Book online at

dogs on parade


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

at-small-image1 copy 3A Group of Ex Para’s are riding to Arnhem and are trying to follow the flight path of the aircraft that were involved in Operation Market Garden (The battle of Arnhem) This is being led by Matt Hellyer Ex 3 Para Matt has just got over a very serious illness and to do this is an outstanding effort.

You can help Matt, Jord, Steve, Sibbs and Paul raise money for this great cause by donating directly to their fundraising page – JustGiving sends your donation straight to The Parachute Regiment Afghanistan Trust and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer, so your donation is worth even more.  The route:

This will start on the 17 Sept and will finish on the DZ on the 20 Sept 14.

The 5 ex Para troopers are planning to ride for 3/4 days and will have 1 x support vehicle.

The route for leg 1 should take them from the West down to Whitehall, London where the group has organised a charity bash in a local pub called ‘The Constituition’ in Pimlico on the Wednesday night (17th). This where many of the Chelsea pensioners hang out so the group is hoping the event should be interesting.

Leg 2 on Thursday takes them from Whitehall to Harwich via Colchester and hopefully arrange a bit of publicity with the Battalions support before boarding the ferry to Hook of Holland, Rotterdam.

Leg 3 will then start on Friday morning from the port/ Rotterdam to Arnhem and a huge ride of 120 Miles to reach the  Camp site outside Arnhem.

Leg 4 on Saturday morning will go from the camp site to the DZ  and a well earned beer with the boys.

Please support these paratroopers helping their own. It doesn’t get any better.



July 27th, 2014

pour-deTony Lewis the Father of Conrad who was sadly killed in Afghanistan whilst serving with 3 Para is raising funds  for 4 Charities.

He has organised a  charity cycle event at Mallory Park on August 17th. It’s a cycle challenge for everyone from committed teams to relays or individuals. While 353 need the entrance fee to cover costs  the idea is that people can raise money for their own charities, so if you get people along they can raise funds directly for you but use the fantastic facility that we have for the day. It’s a 7 hour challenge with breaks on a 1.2 mile circuit – a team of 4 should do a combined 353 miles in that time or there abouts! Please follow the link below and support this worthy cause


The Wigley Group Open 2013 and Gala Dinner – A Night of Champions – RAISE £14.5K

June 18th, 2014

On 11 June 2014 The Wigley Group sponsored a Golf Competition and Gala Dinner in support of The Afghanistan Trust. Each competitor in the golf competition was paired with a sports celebrity for the match. A host of celebrities from the sports arena gave up their time and skills to make the day a success. The celebrities came from a wide range of sports including, Darts, Boxing, Golf, Football, Snooker and Cricket. The weather was very different from last year’s Open, with the sun shining during the entire event. The team representing the Paras were Daz Fuller, Gary Boyle and Scott Bourne. Daz Fuller et al

After the golf came the evening festivities and all in attendance were on arrival in awe of the celebrity guests of the Wigley Group and John McDonald of Sky.  The guests of honour Gordon Banks and George Cohen arrived to great applause, two of England’s greatest football players who were members of the 1966 world cup winning team. These two men did not once say no to any of the individuals who asked to have their photo taken with them. Later in the evening they were available to have professional photos taken with anyone that made a donation to the Trust. All monies raised by this photo shoot went towards the evening’s final total. In excess of 200 people sat down to a 3 course meal. The CEO Afghanistan Trust Colin Smith gave a talk about the Trust’s aims and explained how funds raised are used to support our paratroopers. Jaco Van Gass was the evening’s guest speaker and spoke of his injuries and his journey to where he is now. The audience were captured by Jaco and showed their appreciation with resounding applause.gordon banks etc

After dinner the awards for the top three placed Golf teams were presented. and then fundraising began, with an opportunity to play darts with some of the world’s best players. Many took up this challenge but sadly no one was able to defeat these awesome players. All taking part had great fun. Current World Champion Phil Taylor and Ex World Champion Steve Beaton were among the professional darts players who gave their time and talents during the evening. This was followed by an auction conducted by John McDonald. Many items from the world of sports were auctioned which drew many bids.


The Afghanistan Trust sends it’s thanks to the Wigley Group, and to Rob Wigley, who is a great supporter of The Afghanistan Trust. We also thank Rob’s daughter Katie who was on the go all day and evening and I suspect long before the day began. Katie’s hard work and dedication meant the event flowed without a hitch.   thanks

Special thanks go to John McDonald who organised the event with skill and panache. John worked hard to ensure that the evening’s festivities were a success; he also hosted the evening event.   John is a former Paratrooper and is now a Sky Sports Presenter and often calls on sports celebrities to help raise funds for the Trust. John is an avid supporter of The Afghanistan Trust and we are very grateful for his continuing support and fundraising.mcdonald

Our thanks also go to all the celebrities who cave up their time and talents to make the evening such a great success.

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