Our Campaign

Back Ben Parkinson is a campaign to raise money for Ben Parkinson and create awareness of other seriously injured soldiers like him.

We are cycling from Fort George in the north of Scotland to Portsmouth, starting on 26th July and visiting as many military bases as possible on the way. (See The Cycle Route and join us for some miles).

Over 240 British armed forces personnel have been given amputations since the war began in 2007 (Source: The Guardian, May 1st 2013). 46 UK troops serving in Afghanistan had limbs amputated between April 2011 and March 2012, 18 of them significant multiple amputees. We know a great deal about Ben Parkinson and his horrific injuries but we do not know enough about those recently injured and we must make it our business to find out.

This is about recognising that there are families in the community who are already stretched and yet are receiving home a broken body and mind. They may be able to bank a cheque for services rendered but the money will run out and the house may be nowhere near prepared for a disabled person. Men are returning home so badly injured that they cannot walk, talk, see or cuddle their loved ones.

What’s this all about?

More about Ben Parkinson MBE

When you meet Ben Parkinson you cannot help but be inspired. He has an indomitable spirit and a wicked sense of humour. Despite horrific injuries he is rebuilding his life. His strength of character and sheer determination are propelling him to do things that he was told he would never do again.

Ben does not want our sympathy but he does deserve our admiration and support. Ben has had lots of media coverage but there are many soldiers like him who have lost limbs, suffered loss of sight and brain damage who are in the shadows.

"Back Ben Parkinson" is not just about Ben. It is just an example of what is possible.

Our aim is to focus public attention on these brave men and women, to empower them and to promote and encourage social responsibility for them within their communities. Our vision is for other people to come forward to identify an individual who has suffered a similar fate to Ben and come up with a way to help.

This is a call to action.

Message from Francie & Jeremy Clarkson
Best of luck Morgan and Harry and the team with your cycle ride boys. Ben is a truly inspirational man who embodies the grit, determination and bravery of our servicemen and women. They deserve our thanks, admiration and support. We know if he could, Ben would be with you; cycling every mile - up hill and down dale.

Surprisingly, these men and women do not feel sorry for themselves. They want to beat the medical predictions and regain their lives. You will be inspired by their energy and determination.

We aim to harness the energy and enthusiasm of young people so that they engage with these individuals and form a life long bond. Three schools have adopted Ben Parkinson and we are inviting others to do the same.

However, anyone of any age can help. There is not a single person who does not have something to offer. Maybe you could raise the money to fund a prosthetic limb or a wheelchair, offer free training or free advice. Maybe you could plumb in an appliance, offer to do a few hours gardening, have a chat over a cup of tea or offer support over the phone. It's up to you. You will be saying "I know you are there and I am here for you."

Ben with Tim Henman

Ben Parkinson was a 6'4" Para. His dream as a boy was to join the army or to be more precise - the Paras.!

Ben got his wish at 16 when he was accepted into Harrogate Foundation College. On the first day there were over 1000 boys - scared, tearful, apprehensive - and there was Ben, head and shoulders above the rest, massive smile upon his face, attracting friends like a magnet and collecting smaller boys like a mother hen. Nothing has ever changed!

Ben had found his niche in life. Perfectly suited to the hard physical challenges, responding to discipline and displaying strong leadership characteristics, he committed heart and soul to his regiment and his mates.

Ben 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.

Still determined on a lifelong career with 7 Para RHA, he served a 7 month Winter tour in Kosovo aged 20, before volunteering to deploy to Afghanistan with G Battery Gun group in 2003.

On 12th Sept, 2 weeks before the end of his tour, Ben was the rear gunner in a WIMIK Land Rover when the rear axle detonated a huge anti-tank mine. Ben took the full force of the blast.

Given no chance of survival, he was flown home immediately, to die with his family. Ben had other ideas! Terribly wounded, he remained in a deep coma for several months. We, his family, remained at his bedside throughout, kept going through the dark times by the constant flow of his regimental family. Right from the start, boys came from Larkhill Camp - under threat of disciplinary action. Boys came straight off the plane from Afghanistan, in full desert kit. Some sobbed, some sat in silence and held his hand, some laughed and joked as if Ben were still amongst them and taking his part in the banter.

The bright spot of our day was seeing the tall marooned berets striding onto the ward.We learnt how Ben represented his regiment in the infamous Ration Pack Challenge, that he was a member of the ' Brown Bandits' entertainment group - how he covered himself in the luminous fluid from inside a light stick and charged into camp one dark night.

We learnt that he had won a regimental 'Blind Date' contest in Iraq, the prize being dinner with a page 3 girl. When the girl gave him a signed photo and wrote 'you were the best' - Ben responded by writing 'I've had better'. Mostly what we learnt was the love, respect and utter commitment that Ben inspired from within his regiment - The Big Unit was going to leave a massive hole in 7 Para and the boys did not intend to let go.

Slowly, slowly, Ben began to improve. Never downhearted, never giving in, totally immune to self pity, Ben has gone from strength to strength. Still determined to return to his beloved 7 Para, he works tirelessly on his physical fitness, his speech, his memory and learning to walk on prosthetic limbs - a feat never before attempted by anyone having suffered such a severe head injury.

Ask Ben today about his injuries and he will say - ' Its no problem, I'm getting better, and it could have been worse - it could have been one of my mates'.

Ben Parkinson walks with Olympic flame
Lee Dixon voices his support

Ben Parkinson awarded an MBE

The story so far