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By Kevin Unitt Thursday 29 November 2012 Updated: 29/11 14:54
THE FAMILY of a fallen Claverdon paratrooper have hailed a successful first year for the not-for-profit organisation set up in his memory.
353 – named as Private Conrad Lewis was the 353rd UK soldier to die in Afghanistan – was launched 12 months ago selling branded clothing, toys and gifts as well as providing a forum where people could fund-raise in his memory for a host of armed forces charities.
The initial aim was to raise £353,000 and more than £207,000 of that has already been generated.
Just over half the total was donated by Nissan GB, where Conrad's father and 353 founder Tony Lewis works.
The rest has been generated through an annual charity ball, special paratrooper runs, cycle rides and also fund-raising appearances by Peg, a dog which Conrad looked after in Afghanistan up until his death and which was brought back to the UK by the Lewis family.
Tony Lewis told the paper: “The generosity of people has been outstanding.
“We as a family take pride in our work for 353, and though it of course doesn't compare to the work Conrad was doing it helps keep us busy and honour his memory.
“It makes us feel a little bit better, which is about as much as we can say.”
Forthcoming events include Conrad's charity ball, to be held at Warwick School on February 15, and a London to Paris cycle challenge next June. The organisation is also to launch a branded range of solid silver jewellery.
Charities already to have benefited through 353 include the Afghanistan Trust, Troop Aid and The Parachute Regiment Charity.
Pte Lewis, of the 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was killed in action in Helmand Province on February 9, 2011, by insurgent snipers while performing his duties as lead scout.
The 22-year-old has since posthumously received a Mention in Dispatches for his “unique bravery”, the oldest form of recognition for gallantry within the UK Armed Forces.
Visit http://353.org.uk/ for more details.
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