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Red Devils welcome riders home as Sunderland honours fallen hero Nathan Cuthbertson

A member of the Parachute Regiment's Parachute Display team, The Red Devils, drops in at Ashbrooke Sports Ground on Sunday.

A member of the Parachute Regiment's Parachute Display team, The Red Devils, drops in at Ashbrooke Sports Ground on Sunday.

The Red Devils jumped into the city and a 120-strong procession of riders cycled from Catterick to Sunderland as Wearside remembered fallen hero Nathan Cuthbertson.

The 19-year-old, from Tunstall, was one of three paratroopers killed on June 8 2008 when a lone insurgent detonated an explosive in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Together their deaths took the total of British troops killed in the country to 100.

His parents Tom and Carla, friends, family and supporters organised a charity bike ride and family fun day to mark his anniversary on Sunday, which was attended by 1,000 people.

Tom said: “It’s just been fantastic, unbelievable. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

“Our Nathan would have been very proud. The only crying shame is that he isn’t here to see it.

“We’ve just been overwhelmed by the support everyone’s shown us – it means the world to us.”

Tom and Carla and other family and friends were among 120 riders cycling the 60 miles from Catterick Garrison in North Yorksire to Ashbrooke Sports Club in Sunderland, where supporters formed a tunnel to cheer them home.

The Red Devils then amazed the crown a dazzling display in the sunny sky above the sports club, landing and switching to their maroon berets to greet Tom and Carla.

The couple thanked everyone who took part and helped organise the ride and family day, including those who provided the companies who generously provided services and facilities.

The ride was led by family friend Colin Charlton, who himself served with the Parachute Regiment, including in the Falklands Campaign.

Money raised from the bike ride and fun day will go into the Brothers in Arms fund, which was set up by Wearside families who have lost loved ones in recent conflicts and service.

The group successfully campaigned and fundraised for a memorial wall to be built next to Sunderland’s cenotaph to remember Wearside’s post-World War Two heroes.

Brothers in Arms also provides help to veterans and serving armed forces personnel, and is working on other projects – including plans to create a walkway for heroes around the city’s cenotaph.

 

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