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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Pupils raise money in memory of Cumbrian soldier

A teenager raised money in memory of his uncle who was killed in Afghanistan – and got his entire school involved.

Jack Storey photo
Sgt Major Graham Reilly and Sgt Major Paul Cochrane, right, congratulate student Jack Storey

Fifteen-year-old Jack Storey smashed his target and raised four times as much as he hoped for the Royal Dragoon Guards Association.

His uncle Sgt David Monkhouse, from Aspatria, was a medic with the army unit. He was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.

Jack got everyone at Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton involved and presented the money to Sgt Mjr Graham Reilly and Sgt Mjr Paul Cochrane after inviting them to the school.

“We have been thinking about raising money for a while and I brought it up at the school council meeting,” he said. “Every year we do a founders day where we have a collection in the church and people from around the school donate money to that. Me and my dad have also been selling wristbands around the school and we sold quite a few hundred.”

Jack said they started the fundraising drive around a month ago and admitted he was “really surprised” at how much money they made in such a short time.

“We had a target of £250 but we made £1,000,” he said.

“We found the Royal Dragoon Guards Association really supportive.

“They give money and emotional support.”

He said he didn’t get to see Sgt Monkhouse very often, because of his service, but they were close.

“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s been two years so we are starting to get a bit better at coping. It’s a daily thing.”

Assistant head Mike Beechy said Jack had done a great job. “£400 was raised in the collection and Jack raised another £580,” he said. “He’s done extremely well.”

Sgt Monkhouse, 35, a combat medic with the Royal Dragoon Guards, was killed by an improvised explosive device in rebel-held territory in July 2010. On the day of his death he was with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, a specialist unit operating within enemy areas gathering intelligence and disrupting rebel operations. Coroner David Roberts said at his inquest last year that he died doing what he wanted and a job he loved.

He said: “He was exceptional, and [his comrades felt] it was a privilege to serve with him, one of the finest, and a true friend.”

Cap David Latimer, with the group in which sergeant Monkhouse was working, said he and others in the group had walked over the patch of ground where the bomb was hidden at least five or six times before Sgt Monkhouse crossed it. He was treated at the scene but could not be resuscitated.

VBrenan@cngroup.co.uk

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