War hero joins in 10k event to raise £3,000 for soldiers
WAR hero Ben Parkinson gave a courageous display of a survivor’s spirit as hundreds of runners took to the track at Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield to tackle the Lord Mayor’s 10k Race and Fun Run - and raise money for good causes across the region.
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, aged 26, who is one of the most seriously injured British soldiers to survive the war in Afghanistan, completed a circuit of the track to raise £3,000 for forces charity Troop Aid.
In 2006 he was in a Land Rover which detonated a landmine in Helmand province, and had to have both of his legs amputated above the knee.
In one of the first times he had walked on his prosthetic legs in public, Ben crossed the finish line with a team of injury lawyers who are representing the soldier in his battle for rehabilitation funds.
Afterwards Ben, from Bessacarr, Doncaster, said he was “very happy” at completing his lap of the stadium, while his solicitor Andrew Buckham called him an “inspirational guy”.
“Ben was the last person to set off and as we finished Ben was able to join us for the last 10 metres and we crossed the finishing line as a group,” Andrew said.
“He was very, very happy but he is always setting himself new challenges.
“He is an inspirational guy and he doesn’t want to stop here, he has set himself more challenges in the months ahead.”
Competitors came from near and far for the Lord Mayor’s event - from serious athletes looking to secure a medal, to youngsters attempting their first race in the smaller 3k Fun Run.
Mums and dads ran together with their children, and adults were pitted against youngsters for the fundraising fun. All were cheered on by spectators in the stadium’s covered grandstand.
Robert Bentham, aged 13, was victorious in the fun run, with 14-year-old Jess Mangham taking first place for the girls.
David Lewis, aged just 10, came second for the boys.
The races were both part of the Sheffield Festival of Athletics, and followed a course along the track and on pathways in and around the stadium.