WHITBY was treated to some unexpected visitors to the coast when the Red Devils Parachute Regiment touched down outside its historic abbey yesterday.
The event was staged for bereaved families of service personnel taking part in a holiday run by the charity Family Activity Break.
The group have been enjoying a few days in Whitby, with the arrival of the Red Devils providing a breathtaking finale before the families head for their homes all over the country.
Lieutenant Commander Kevin Watkins, one of the Family Activity Break organisers, said: “We have had a fantastic time in Whitby and everyone has been great.
“When the Red Devils dropped in for the children on Friday we wanted to invite the population of Whitby as a thankyou for the warm welcome they have extended to the families in the most trying of times.”
Family Activity Break was originally conceived in early 2008 and run as a successful pilot in the summer of 2009 where 24 families attended at two locations, in Cornwall and North Yorkshire.
The organisation is staffed by volunteers from the armed forces, defence civilians and ex-service personnel, acting as mentors, lending a helping hand or providing support. They are all trained by a bereavement counselling service which specialises in supporting children and young adults.
The number of British military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001 stands at 422.
Earlier this year six soldiers – five of them serving with the Yorkshire Regiment – were killed in a bomb blast in the single most deadly attack on British troops since the conflict began.
Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, Pte Daniel Wade, 20, and Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, were killed alongside Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.