PUNTERS will be hoping the good fortune of one of the world’s luckiest men rubs off at a charity race meeting at the weekend.
Jimmy Holborn, who lived through two disastrous parachute jumps, will be guest of honour on Help For Heroes Day at Redcar Races on Sunday.
Colleagues were convinced Jimmy, 36, had been killed when his canopy failed to open over Salisbury Plain in 2002 as he trained with the Parachute Regiment.
He was too low for his reserve canopy to be fully effective and he crashed into the ground at high speed. Although suffering agonising damage to his leg, he served in Iraq four months later.
It was the second time a parachute jump had gone badly wrong for Jimmy, who smashed both shins in another accident in 1999.
“I’m lucky or unlucky, depending on how you look at it,” said Jimmy, who completed nearly 70 parachute jumps in his career. “But on the whole, I’m probably just fortunate to still be here.”
Fater-of-two Jimmy, from Sunderland, is now a Help For Heroes ambassador after being supported by the charity when he returned from the horrors of Iraq with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I can’t talk about what I saw out there but I needed help when I got back and the charity was there for me so it means a lot to be an ambassador,” he said.
This is the eighth year Redcar has staged a Help For Heroes Day, raising thousands of pounds.
“It’s an amazing charity and we’re very proud to do our bit,” said racecourse general manager Amy Fair.
Jimmy will present the trophy after the second race. Redcar Poppy Appeal Organiser David Blissitt will present the third race trophy and Colonel Tony Laker, of Cleveland Army Cadets, will do the honours after the fourth race.
There will also be a parade of past and present military personnel, with standard bearers, and an exit collection. Gates open at 12 noon and the first race is at 2pm.
David McNeill, Help For Heroes’ Head of Recovery North, said: “We’re immensely grateful for the ongoing support from Redcar Races. The charity has pledged to support our wounded, injured and sick heroes for life and can only do this with the generosity of organisations like Redcar Races and the great British public.”