Battling Ben wins Army campaign

benram'Former Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson at home in Bessacarr.
benram'Former Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson at home in Bessacarr.

HERO South Yorkshire soldier Ben Parkinson has won his battle to stay in the Army so he can continue to receive full support as he battles back from his appalling injuries.

Ben, aged 27, of Bessacarr, Doncaster, was told last month by a Medical Services Board that he would be recommended for discharge, leaving his mother Diane Dernie worried about whether the NHS could provide the intensive care he needs.

The blow also came as Ben was told his compensation would not exceed the MOD’s cap of £570,000 when his family say the extent of his injuries means he should receive more than £1 million.

Ben, a Lance Bombardier, of 7 Para, Royal Horse Artillery, is the most seriously-injured soldier to survive Afghanistan.

His family has now been sent a letter from Defence Minister Andrew Rowbathan, which said: “While medical advice is that further rehabilitation is required and that it is most appropriately delivered within the Army, Ben will remain in service.”

Ben, who suffered brain and back injuries and lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan in 2006, is battling to walk and talk again.

Diane said: “It’s a massive relief that Ben will not be discharged although it is not an open-ended guarantee. Last week, the Government announced £15 million of improvements to NHS services for veterans and amputees. I worry somewhere down the line they will say there is suitable care on the NHS.”

Ben’s MP, Caroline Flint, who represents Don Valley, said: “I am delighted Ben has won his battle to remain in the Army.”

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “L Bdr Parkinson is still receiving treatment and rehabilitation for his injuries and he remains in the Army.”