Hero Ben to switch on Christmas lights

Ben Parkinson MBE
Ben Parkinson MBE

A Yorkshire military hero has been chosen to switch on Bridlington’s Christmas lights this year.

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson MBE is said to be the most seriously wounded British soldier to survive during the conflict in Afghanistan a decade ago.

Ben Parkinson MBE

Ben Parkinson MBE

He has been invited to push the switch and get Bridlington’s festive celebrations underway on Sunday, December 4.

Bridlington mayor Coun Liam Dealtry said: “I am not often lost for words but when I met Ben I was inspired.

“When you think what he has been through, to see he is still smiling is just fantastic.

Ben was serving with the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery in September 2006, when the Land Rover he was travelling in hit a mine in Helmand Province.

He lost both his legs, broke every rib and was in a coma for three months.

But he defied the doctors’ odds and has learnt to walk again and has since been kayaking down the Yukon River in Alaska, completed several parachute jumps and trekked in the Arctic.

He also carried the Olympic flame through his home town of Doncaster in 2012.

“I would rather have Ben swiutching the lights on in bridlington than any movie star.

“In my mayoral year, this is a real honour for me. I am so chuffed that he has agreed to come.

“Even though he has been on TV and completed all these remarkable challenges, he is just a normal guy.

“I am usually loud and proud but now I am just humbled that he has agreed to come to join us.

“I know Ben was over the moon to be asked as well.”

The switch-on in Bridlington will be held in King Street, and the event begins at 1pm with live music, charity and food stalls and children’s rides.

The lights will go on at around 4.30pm, with Father Christmas helping Ben to do the honours.

Bridlington Town Counil has also confirmed a free children’s ice rink will be back in town befor a week from Monday, December 12, and they have launched a Christmas window display competition for town centre shops.