Assault course challenge raises £7,000 in memory of late commando

Watford Observer: Mighty Duck Troop's assault course challenge success Mighty Duck Troop's assault course challenge success

The father of a "well loved and respected" Royal Marines commando from Watford, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 says he is "touched" by his son’s friends and family taking on an action packed assault course in his memory.

Corporal Christopher Harrison, of Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, died in an explosion in Sangin, Helmand Province, in May 2010 at the age of 26.

Twenty-five of his family and friends, including his brother Russell, his dog Wilson, Ashley Redmond, his former head of year and now deputy headmaster at Parmiter's School and his classmate Joe Fowler, who is now a teacher at St Michaels School, have raised more than £7,000 after taking on the Royal Marines’ gruelling 10 kilometre commando challenge in Lympstone, Devon.

Corporal Harrison’s father Martin, who lives in Garston, said he thought about getting involved in the gruelling assault course himself, however made the “more sensible” decision to watch the others being thrown into the deep end of mud pools, an underwater plunge and tunnel challenges.

Mr Harrison said: "I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to take part in the course because of how tough it was.

"But I did watch, and my wife Gill and I were very touched that so many of our son’s friends remembered Chris and wanted to do something in his memory. It was more about that for me than the actual fundraising."

Chris’s widow, Becky, also came along to watch the challenge and show her support.

The team dubbed themselves The Mighty Duck Troop in reference to Chris’s secondary school nickname and all wore T-shirts during the challenge emblazoned with the slogan Duck Legend.

Martin added: "They were the walking wounded and despite the stiff legs and knee, aches and pains they all stayed out until the early hours to celebrate. They were extremely elated and very proud of themselves.

"They had achieved completing just a small taste of what it is really like to be a Royal Marine. "

The soaked and mud-splattered team came in second with a time of 1 hour, 57 minutes and 30 seconds and are still jointly fundraising for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust and the Devon Air Ambulance.

Chris’s friend and former classmate, James Ballard, was one of the 25-strong team which took part in the challenge.

He said: "It went really well and to be honest. I was expecting it to be more difficult than it was.

"We all worked together as a team, some were quicker and we would wait for others who were slower to catch up and take a break.

"I think Chris would have been proud of us and before the race we were given a standing ovation by other teams and the organisers for what we were doing. Chris seemed very well-known." 

The final challenge was especially poignant because the assault course is one of three final tests Chris had to undertake before being handed his green beret.

Another one of Chris’s former schoolfriends, Amrit Jandu, 28, said the team got through it and were determined to complete the task they had been set.

Mr Jandu, who lives in Garston, said: "It was a very difficult challenge but we plodded along and did really well." 

To make a contribution to the fundraising effort, visit www.justgiving.com/ TheMightyDuckTroop.

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