Soldiers from the Colchester based 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, were honoured by supporters attending Ipswich Town's home game against QPR at Portman Road last week.
Amongst the soldiers, who deploy to Afghanistan at the end of September, was Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson. Four years ago, almost to the day, Ben's army Land Rover hit a roadside bomb in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, resulting in him suffering horrendous injuries from which he was not expected to recover. He lost both legs, his back was broken in three places, every rib fractured and his cheek, nose and jaw were smashed. He was in a coma for four months, lost his speech and suffered debilitating brain injuries.
Ben, however, is a para and fought back. After 18 months of rehabilitation at Headley Court, where he displayed a strength of will second to none, Ben is delighted to be proving all the doctors wrong.
At half time Ben received a cheque for £5000 which represents the money raised by supporters and the club at the end of last season for two charities - 'Help for Heroes' and 'Combat Stress'.
Director of External Affairs for The Football League, Gavin Megaw said: "Ben has shown incredible courage in his rehabilitation and it is great to see Ipswich Town support and honour our brave servicemen in this way"
The cheque was presented by Chair of the Ipswich Town Supporters Club Liz Edwards and Town Chief Executive Simon Clegg, who also formerly served in 7th Parachute Regiment RHA.
Clegg added: "Ben Parkinson is truly a hero and we were delighted that he was able to be with us to receive the cheque for the money raised by Town fans for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress.
"His regiment deploy to Afghanistan again over the next two weeks and so it was especially fitting that he and some of his fellow soldiers were able to join us."
Help for Heroes was the Football League Charity of the Season for 2009-2010. For more information about the charity visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk.
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