Teenager seeks to join Paras in honour of his older brother
A teenager left broken by his brother’s death in Afghanistan has decided to join the Parachute Regiment in his honour.
Fin Doherty’s world was rocked when his brother Jeff – known to his family and friends as JJ – was ambushed just two days before his 20th birthday in June, 2008.
His family were left fighting their own battle with grief, and enlisted the help of Cheltenham-based childhood bereavement charity Winston’s Wish.
The BBC has followed their journey, alongside three other families, in a powerful documentary.
It is the first time the charity has allowed cameras to follow their expert therapists as they work with military families.
In the 30 minute one-off show, which is now available on the BBC iPlayer, JJ’s mum Joyce Doherty remembers her son as the “life and soul of everything” who was “everybody’s friend”.
After passing the gruelling selection programme Jeff was able to follow his life-long dream of joining 2nd Battalion The Parachute.
“There was never anything else, nothing else was an option, it was the Parachute Regiment or nothing,” Mrs Doherty said.
“He knew they were the best of the best and that’s who he wanted to be.”
The private was shot, along with another solider, during a patrol in Afghanistan, leaving his family broken.
“I didn’t know how I was going to get through the next hour, let alone the next day. I was absolutely heartbroken,” Mrs Doherty, from Warwickshire, said.
The family received help from Winston’s Wish, who support children and young people after the death of a parent or sibling, including military families thanks to funding from Help for Heroes.
Now, Fin is aiming his sights on wearing the Parachute Regiment’s iconic maroon beret.
“I couldn’t think of a better job than doing something that I think matters, especially for something my brother laid down his life for,” he said.
*The Inside Out West documentary aired on BBC One West at 7.30pm on Monday, Feb 11th and is now available on BBC iPlayer.