TO his friends and family, Royal Marine Richard Hollington was a hero.
Now schoolchildren will dress up as their own heroes in memory of the 23-year-old who became the 300th member of the armed forces to die in Afghanistan after being fatally injured last year.
His friend Danny Glavin has enlisted the help of schools across the area by persuading them to hold Hero Days.
The aim is to raise as much money as possible for Help for Heroes – the charity chosen by Mne Hollington’s family.
Danny, 24, who is also determined to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in his friend’s memory, said: ‘I’ve paid for the trip already and now every penny raised will go to Help for Heroes.
‘I had an idea for schools to hold Hero Days where pupils dress up as their hero, be it superman, Wayne Rooney, or even their own dad.
‘I’ve spent all my spare time turning up at schools asking headteachers to take part and I’ve had a brilliant response so far.
‘I knew Rich throughout my childhood through playing football.
‘I was totally shocked when he died, it was just awful news.
‘He was such a great guy. It made me desperate to do something to honour him.’
Mr Glavin used to play football with Mr Hollington, from Petersfield, at Purbrook Athletic before they both embarked on their chosen career paths. The 24-year-old, from Wallington, will begin his climb on August 20.
The Hero Days will be held in schools across the area between May and July and the first are on May 20, including Park Gate Primary School, where Mr Glavin works. To sponsor Mr Glavin go to virginmoneygiving.com/ helpforheroes.
Family raise £75,000 since Richard’s death
ROYAL Marine Richard Hollington was just 23 when he died.
He was gravely injured in an explosion while on patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, and died in hospital, in Birmingham, on June 20.
His parents Robin and Jenny, and brothers Nick and Charlie from Petersfield, asked friends and family to donate to Help for Heroes, the national charity which helps rehabilitate injured service personnel.
In the weeks after Mne Hollington’s death the money started to rise quickly and now stands at more than £75,000.
Mr Hollington, who will tackle the gruelling South Downs Yomp next month for the charity, said: ‘We continue to be amazed by people’s generosity.
‘The fundraising has certainly helped us cope with what’s been going on. We’re always amazed at the number of people who fundraise out of respect for Richard and the armed forces.’
To donate go to justgiving.com/marine-richard-hollington