Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Royal Anglian Regiment: Afghanistan Fund more than 3 times over target!

The Royal Anglian Regiment's Afghanistan Fund was set up last year to raise money to help the 120 injured soldiers of 1 Battalion rebuild their lives and to provide financial support to the families of the nine members of the Battalion who were killed in Afghanistan. The original target for the fund was set at £100,000. A year on and the fund has now raised a massive £328,000!

Capt Alex Maclay, thanking the thousands of people who provided such “staggering” support for the fund, said: “When we launched it we had no idea just how much support we would receive. Every time we set a target it was overtaken so in the end we just stopped setting targets. We can now say without a shadow of a doubt that there is support from the public for all of the armed forces but especially for their local regiment. What has happened in recent years has just made that bond stronger. It was always our aim to use some of the money raised to support injured soldiers and the families of those killed. But we had no idea we would be able to contribute so much to help make their lives more worthwhile.”

A memorial at Duxford Imperial Museum featuring a statue of an Anglian soldier in action in Afghanistan is to be unveiled later this year. Plaques have also been commissioned to remember each soldier killed: Cpl Darren Bonner, L/Cpl George Davey, Pte Robert Foster, Pte Chris Gray, Capt David Hicks, Cpl Alex Hawkins, Pte Aaron James McClure. Pte Tony Rawson, Pte John Thrumble.

Examples of how the money is being used include:

  • Funds being placed in trust for the children of each soldier killed. They will
    be able to access the funds when they are 21-years-old.
  • An orthopaedic bed has been bought for a soldier who was wounded in the back.
  • Driving lessons and a test were paid for to help a solider who lost a limb regain his
    independence and freedom of movement.
  • Computer software was purchased for a solider with a head injury to help him recover some cognitive functions.
  • A solider who is likely to be medically discharged has been fund through courses
    to help him retain and become more employable.

Christine Bonner, the mother of Darren Bonner who was killed in Iraq, said: “This total figure is fantastic and it will not only help us realise the dream of creating a memorial but will leave a legacy to help those who were injured and the children who lost their dads. For myself and the other mums, nothing can bring our sons back, but it has been a great comfort to feel like something positive has come out of what happened.”

Well done to all those who helped with the fund-raising!

It's good to see how much support there is for those who have risked their lives in the service of their country and especially for the Royal Anglian Regiment!

Link> EDP24: Rebuilding our heroes' bodies and minds
Link> EADT24: Anglians campaign through £300k barrier
Link> MoD: 1 R Anglian Afghanistan Memorial Fund