War hero plans parachute jump for forces charity

WOUNDED war hero Ben Parkinson has drafted in his family to follow in his skydiving footsteps.

The 26-year-old from Bessacarr is putting together a major parachute jump for the services charity Pilgrim Bandits, which will see 60 people, including injured troops, take the plunge at the Army Parachute School at Netheravon, Wiltshire, in April.

This time he has recruited twin brother Danny and stepdad Andrew Dernie to follow him out of the plane for what will be their first parachute jumps.

He is also inviting Doncaster MPs to follow in their wake, in an event which has been named Parkie's Jump with a Hero.

Mum Diane Dernie said: "He's volunteered Andrew and Danny to take part!

"Neither of them have ever done anything like that before.

"They're not scared of heights, but quite how they'll feel when they are up in the aeroplane and getting ready to jump I don't know!

"We're hoping to take a bus from Doncaster to take part in the event, although it is open to everyone in the country."

Paratrooper Ben has already taken part in three parachute jumps since he lost his legs and broke his back after he was the victim of a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan in September 2006.

Before the parachute jump Ben plans to go on a bobsleigh ride with the British national team in Germany in March.

He has now been told by experts at the Army's Headley Court military hospital in Surrey that they believe he will be able to walk normally on false legs. He is due to have his hydraulic legs replaced by an even more sophisticated pair with an implanted computer chip.

Ben's walking has been more difficult to master than other soldiers who have lost their legs because of the brain damage he also suffered in the blast which nearly killed him.

To join Parkie's Jump with a Hero, log onto www.pilgrimbandits.com and click on Parkie's Jump with a Hero.

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