IT’S been a heartbreaking 18 months for the family of Marine Richard Hollington.
The 23-year-old was killed by a roadside bomb in June 2010 while on patrol in Afghanistan.
But since then his parents Robin and Jenny, from Petersfield, have worked tirelessly to raise money for members of the armed forces returning injured to the UK.
And they have now revealed the amount raised by generous friends, family and total strangers for Help for Heroes in memory of their son has reached a £205,000.
A large chunk of that comes from the hugely successful Heroes Day which has now been confirmed as an annual event.
Mr Hollington said: ‘It never ceases to amaze us how generous people are to give up their time to take part and organise events in Rich’s memory.
‘Many did not know Rich but they gave up their time to fundraise which is extremely generous.
‘The amount of money they raised is amazing.’
Mne Hollington, from Somerset-based 40 Commando, was injured in Sangin Province when an insurgent triggered an explosive device on June 12, 2010.
The former Purbrook Park School pupil died eight days later in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, where he had been transferred.
He became the 300th serviceman to die on operations in Afghanistan since the operation began in 2001.
On October 21, thousands of schoolchildren across the country and workers dressed up as their heroes, raising an amazing £50,000.
Mr Hollington added: ‘For me the idea behind Heroes Day was the debate between celebrity and heroes and in many ways that was more important than the fundraising.
‘We went to one school where a young girl dressed up as a girl who in the 1850s rowed across the sea to rescue sailors from a shipwreck.
‘That took a lot of research for a girl of 10.
‘And it’s very different to holding Wayne Rooney up as a hero for being a great goal scorer.’
Mr Hollington is still working behind the scenes to confirm exactly what the money will be spent on, but he said: ‘We’re hoping to have everything in place in the next few weeks but until then we are keeping it under wraps.
‘What I can say is it’s going to a very fitting and appropriate use.
‘It’s a fitting tribute to Rich.’
Fundraising in memory of Mne Hollington is ongoing and new donations are coming in all the time.
To donate go to justgiving.com/Marine-Richard-Hollington.