Special fundraiser to be held in memory of Sunderland soldier killed in Iraq

Tenchy 10K and Armed Forces Day fundraiser, organiser Paul Jasper.
Tenchy 10K and Armed Forces Day fundraiser, organiser Paul Jasper.
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Vital funds to help injured servicemen and women will be raised with a walk in memory of a Sunderland soldier who tragically died while serving his country.

Tenchy’s 10k Tab takes place this Saturday in recognition of the sacrifice made by Private Michael Tench, who was killed aged just 18 while on duty in Iraq.

Tenchy 10K and Armed Forces Day fundraiser, organiser Paul Jasper.

Tenchy 10K and Armed Forces Day fundraiser, organiser Paul Jasper.

Michael a former pupil at Hylton Red House School was in the back of a Warrior armoured car which was blasted by a roadside bomb in Basra in January 2007.

To mark a decade since his passing, the event, which is being held on Saturday has been set up by organisers of Sunderland’s Armed Forces Weekend, which includes Michael’s loving mum Janice.

Fellow organiser Paul Jasper, himself a former serviceman who was in the Light Infantry, told the Echo: “Michael was the last Light Infantry soldier to be killed in action because after that the regiment became known as the Rifles.

“The ‘tab’ is a reference to what we would do when we put our kit on and marched out to war.

Tenchy 10K and Armed Forces Day fundraiser, organiser Paul Jasper.

Tenchy 10K and Armed Forces Day fundraiser, organiser Paul Jasper.

“We felt it was right to do something with it being the 10th anniversary of Michael’s death and we want as many of the general public to be involved as possible.

“There are already 120 people signed up to take part.”

Speaking about the walk, Michael’s mum Janice Procter said: “It’s quite humbling for me that this is being done in Michael’s memory, 10 years after he was killed.

“He was so proud of his uniform and I am so proud of him as a son.

Soldier Private Michael Tench who was killed in Iraq after his patrol vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.

Soldier Private Michael Tench who was killed in Iraq after his patrol vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.

“To have so many of the public participating is fantastic and hopefully we’ll raise a lot of money.”

The tab is split into two parts, a 10k route and a 5k route which is more suitable for families with children.

The finishing line will be at Keel Square in Sunderland city centre.

“Anyone can come along and we hope more will sign up before the event,” added Mr Jasper.

Janice Procter with a picture of her son Private Michael Tench who was killed in Iraq in January 2007.

Janice Procter with a picture of her son Private Michael Tench who was killed in Iraq in January 2007.

“We want a real family atmosphere to be created and we’ll also go to the Cenotaph before we get to Keel Square where some pictures will be taken.”

Cash raised from the event will be handed to Care for Casualties, a charity set up to help Rifles personnel injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and towards the organising of Sunderland’s Armed Forces Weekend event which is held in June.

Money will also go towards the creation of an Armed Forces monument in Sunderland.

“Our city’s commitment towards the Armed Forces is one of the highest in the country and always has been,” added Mr Jasper, who is a driving instructor.

“We are heavily supported by the general public and appreciate their help in fund-raising for events like this.”

Also helping with organising the event has been Julie Reay and her Footprints in the Sand group.

Those taking part in the Tenchy 10k Tab should meet at Morrisons car park in Seaburn at 12pm on Saturday.

For more information, search “Tenchys 10k Tab” on Facebook.