MP makes parachute jump in memory of fallen heroes

COLCHESTER MP Bob Russell marked the anniversary of the death of a British soldier by taking part in a 13,000 ft parachute jump.

Roddy Ashworth

COLCHESTER MP Bob Russell marked the anniversary of the death of a British soldier by taking part in a 13,000 ft parachute jump.

Mr Russell was honouring a promise made to the widow of Lance Corporal James Bateman who had asked him to commemorate his death with a fund-raising jump.

L/Cpl Bateman, 29, was killed alongside Private Jeff Doherty, 20, in a fierce Taliban ambush just north of their base in Helmand province, Afghanistan.


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The men, from Colchester-based C Company, 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, were on foot patrol when the attack happened.

Mr Russell, who beforehand confessed he was “extremely nervous”, was joined by Defence Minister Kevan Jones in the jump at Netheravon, Wiltshire.

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The two men - who had never jumped before - vowed to make the tandem jumps with the Army's Red Devils parachute display team to help raise money for a military charity and pay their respects after being asked to participate by Victoria Bateman, who also took part in a tandem jump.

Mr Russell said: “I was taken aback when Mrs Bateman invited me and the defence minister to take part.

“She asked both of us when we all attended an event at the Colchester garrison last autumn, and it was difficult to refuse.

“We were here to show support for Victoria and we were honoured to be a part of such an event.

“The jump itself was an incredible experience and I am full of admiration for the soldiers who do this for a living.”

Mr Russell added that he and Mrs Bateman would welcome donations.

Cheques made payable to the “Airborne Forces charity” can be sent to Mr Russell either at the House of Commons, London, SW1A0AA or to Magdalene Hall, Wimpole Road, Colchester CO12DE.

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