Last year, on 11 July 2015, the
Irwin Mitchell Southampton
Military Injury Claims team,
together with a few extra
recruits, descended upon APA
Netheravon, Wiltshire, to take
part in the Pilgrim Bandits event
to raise funds for the charity
through tandem skydiving.
We raised over £4,000 for the
charity and helped them to raise
£12,000 in total.
Pilgrim Bandits Charity was established
by a small group of Special Forces
veterans in 2007 with the aim of using
their unique training and experience to
help and inspire wounded soldiers to live
life to the full.
The mantra ‘Always a Little Further’ is
core to the charity’s attitude, whether
working with amputee men and
women from the services directly or by
utilising their experiences to inspire and
encourage young people and children.
The charity’s patron, Lance Bombardier
Ben Parkinson 7 (Para) RHA, lost both
legs in Afghanistan following an IED
blast in September 2006. Ben also
sustained a number of other injuries,
including a spinal injury, a pelvic injury
and a brain injury; nonetheless, Ben has
gone on to inspire others through his
endeavours with Pilgrim Bandits and
through having completed other feats,
such as carrying the Olympic Torch
through Doncaster, despite being told he
would never walk again.
Irwin Mitchell have also supported Ben
and his family in their campaign for an
increase in the AFCS award for seriously
A number of the charity’s ambassadors
were also involved on the day. Lance
Corporal Tyler Christopher was injured by
an IED in Afghanistan in 2009.
As a result of the blast he had to have
both legs amputated above the knee,
as well as nearly losing his arm and
suffering abdominal injuries. However,
he has reportedly joked that he was
more bothered about losing his camera
in the blast, as it had all of his tour
photos on it.
Alex Lewis also took part. Alex is the
charity’s first civilian ambassador. He
was asked to join the Pilgrim Bandits as
a result of his remarkable attitude. In
November 2013 Alex collapsed before
being rushed to hospital. Within a few
hours his vital organs were failing and
he contracted Strep A, which quickly
became Strep A Toxic Shock Syndrome.
This lead to septicaemia and necrotizing
fasciitis which resulted in quadruple
amputation for Alex. He had to
undergo extensive skin grafts and facial
reconstruction as the infection ravaged
his face and mouth as well as his limbs.
He was 33 years old at the time, with a
partner and a three year old son.
Ben, Alex and Tyler were also joined by
Hari Budha Magar, a double amputee
from the Royal Gurkha Rifles. Duncan
Bannatyne, an ambassador for the
charity also attended the event to show
his ongoing support.
Autumn 2016 (PDF)