Parents of war hero at Palace to meet Queen

The parents of fallen Paratrooper Mark Wright, GC, met the Queen at Buckingham Palace yesterday as part of a week of remembrance.

Bob and Jem Wright, who set up The Mark Wright Project Centre for returning troops in their son's memory, are spending the week taking part in a series of events in London in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

One of the week's highlights was the royal reception for recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross - Cpl Wright was awarded a posthumous GC after he died saving colleagues from a minefield in Afghanistan in 2006.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was not the first time the couple had met the Queen. Most recently, they were present in May as she opened the MoD's new Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood, London, which includes a room named after their son.

Mr Wright said the Buckingham Palace reception had been a moving event: "There were VCs and GCs there that are still alive, and the bereaved families were there as well. The Queen was there, Prince Philip, the Duke of Kent, Sophie and Edward, we met most of them.

"The Queen said 'Nice to see you again', so she remembered. It was lovely. It was for everybody really - the people who were there, they've done the ultimate."

The couple, who live in Dalkeith, began their week with a reception for the VC and GC Association on Monday. This evening they will visit the Imperial War Museum for the opening of the Lord Ashcroft Gallery. The gallery, paid for by a 5 million donation from Lord Ashcroft, houses the Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, featuring Victoria Crosses and George Crosses.

It tells the stories of the lives of their recipients, and its multimedia installations include an interview with Mr Wright recorded earlier this year.

He said: "We don't know what to expect really, but I've heard it's absolutely fantastic, the way it's all presented."

The climax of their week will be on Saturday when they attend the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

"I've never been before and I've been told that it's lovely," Mr Wright said. "I've heard it's quite emotional, but I think that will be the main attraction, I'm quite looking forward to it."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Mark Wright Project provides social, emotional and practical support for returning troops and their families at its centre in Dalkeith. It will celebrate its first anniversary on November 20 when Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs and former paratrooper commander Colonel Stuart Tootal will take part in a fundraising evening.

Col Tootal, who was Cpl Wright's commander in Afghanistan, will give a talk about his experiences, and Isaacs will read some of the war poems of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.Entry to Col Tootal's talk costs 10, with tickets also available for dinner and readings - see for more details.