Wounded war hero wins funding fight for another six months of rehabilitation

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INJURED paratrooper Ben Parkinson was yesterday told the Government would fund his rehabilitation for another six months, meaning he can continue with specialist therapy to improve his speech and mobility.

Lance Bombardier Parkinson, from Doncaster, is the most seriously injured soldier to survive the Afghanistan war, and he and his family have fought to ensure the Army helps him to recover.

The 27-year-old yesterday underwent an assessment to decide whether he was eligible to continue with his funded rehabilitation, and his mother Diane Dernie said he was delighted to be told he was.

Last September, the soldier was told by the Medical Services Board that he would be recommended for discharge from the Army in December, meaning that his family would have to pay the £2,000 a week cost of his rehabilitation.

But in a dramatic U-turn a month later Veterans Minister Andrew Robathan wrote to him saying he could remain in service while his care is “most appropriately delivered” within the Army.

Last night Mrs Dernie said: “We can now stop worrying about what will happen with the funding for Ben’s rehabilitation and he can get on with it. He did brilliantly well at the assessment. Ben is really pleased. He knew we weren’t going to let anything stop his rehabilitation, but now he knows he has got another six months to build on what he has already achieved.”

Lance Bombardier Parkinson, who lost both legs and suffered devastating brain and back injuries in a Taliban bomb attack in 2006, has been told that told his compensation will be capped at £570,000, although his injuries mean he should be entitled to more than £1m.

He currently undergoes three sessions of speech therapy a week, as well as 15 hours of rehabilitation at a specialist centre in Leicestershire, where he is learning to walk again using specially designed prosthetic legs.

Mrs Dernie said her son had accepted that he couldn’t stay in the Army indefinitely, but added: “He is now building a place for himself with his charity work and other activities and nobody can take away from him what he has done.”