- Inspirational soldier guest of honour at Clifton Lane
- Most wounded soldier to survive Afghanistan
Photo: RFU Archive
Ben Parkinson is the most wounded soldier to survive the war in Afghanistan and an inspiration to many. The Olympic Torch carrier and MBE was guest of honour at Rotherham Titans v Nottingham on January 5.
During his afternoon at Clifton Lane, which saw the home side lose 12-32, Ben was presented with a cheque for £430 from captain Garry Law towards Back Ben Parkinson, a charity designed to recognise and help seriously injured soldiers.
Here is Ben's story...
At the age of 16, Ben was accepted into Harrogate Foundation College, where his dream of joining the Army began. Perfectly suited to the hard physical challenges, responding to discipline and displaying strong leadership characteristics, Ben committed heart and soul to his regiment and was in the first British vehicle across the border in the Iraq war in 2003. He fought the Battle of Rommalia Bridge on his 19th birthday, served seven months in Kosovo at the age of 20 and in 2003, volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan.
"It could have been one of my mates"
On September 12, 2003, two weeks before the end of his tour, Ben was seriously injured when his vehicle crossed a huge anti-tank mine. Given no chance of survival, he was flown home immediately to be with his family where he remained in a deep coma for several months. Supported throughout by his family and regiment, Ben's love, respect and commitment to those around him became evident from the stories told at his bedside.
Much to the surprise of doctors, Ben began to make a remarkable recovery. Never downhearted, never giving in and totally immune to self-pity, Ben has gone from strength to strength.
“It’s no problem, I'm getting better, and it could have been worse, it could have been one of my mates,” he comments.
Still determined to return to his beloved 7 Para, he works tirelessly on his physical fitness, speech, memory and learning to walk on prosthetic limbs – a feat never before attempted by anyone who has suffered such a severe head injury.
Back Ben Parkinson is a campaign to raise money for Ben and create awareness of other seriously injured soldiers like him.
For more information or to make a donation, visit Ben’s website: http://www.backbenparkinson.co.uk/Home_page_Back_Ben_Parkinson.html