Red Devils drop in on Abbey

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THE Red Devils dropped in on Whitby Abbey last Friday afternoon.

The Parachute Regiment’s iconic display team flew in to meet 20 bereaved army families at the English Heritage site as part of a project organised by the Families Activity Breaks (FAB) charity.

Sarah Bedlington, site manager of Whitby Abbey, said: “The Red Devils visit is something that we have hosted here at the abbey for a few years now as we are keen to help support charity events.

“It was a really good day, the weather was kind to us and there was a great turnout.

“There was a big crowd in the car park and the surrounding area as well as all the people on site.

“The kids all seemed to absolutely love it and I think that the Red Devils taking the time to come and get involved is brilliant.”

Families and onlookers were treated to a spectacular display as the Red Devils parachuted in with flags and red smoke flares, performing their signature triple formation before landing perfectly in front of the audience.

“We are the only team in the UK that perform that manoeuvre – it is tough but the crowd like it,” said Lance Corporal Nathan Connelly, the team’s spokesman.

“The team has been visiting the Family Activity breaks since they started and we enjoy being involved.”

The soldiers, in their maroon Parachute Regiment berets, formed up and were inspected by four-year-old Henry from Nottinghamshire on behalf of the families. He then accompanied the team to help fold their parachutes before all adjourned for tea and buns.

FAB is a non-public funded initiative in partnership with the Youth Hostels Association providing activity holidays around the UK for bereaved Military families.

The families, who were accommodated in the Youth Hostel adjacent to Whitby Abbey, have been enjoying a few days in and around the town and at East Barnby Outdoor Centre doing various activities including sailing, horse riding and rock climbing.

Lieutenant Colonel Belinda Forsythe, FAB project director, said:“The town of Whitby provides a wonderful welcome to FAB, our families and our volunteers and show their support in so many ways.

“Besides the Red Devils, we also had a visit by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue who brought an appliance for the children which they loved.”