DR WHO and The Wombles star Bernard Cribbins OBE headed to Colchester’s Merville Barracks to relive his days as a paratrooper.

During the visit, Bernard – who completed National Service in Palestine and Germany with 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment between 1947 and 1949 – climbed aboard the barrack’s Dakota, the aircraft from which he would have jumped, and met the current crop of 3 PARA soldiers.

The 87-year-old also presented £17,500 to the Regiment’s official charity Support Our Paras, which was raised through a fly-fishing event at Duncton Mill Fishery in Sussex in October.

Bernard said: “Once a paratrooper always a paratrooper. It is something that you choose to do and that means you have made a choice to become something special. The discipline to make sure you play the part that other people are relying on you to do is the same in the Paras and acting.

“It’s been wonderful to come and visit The Parachute Regiment again. I’m equally delighted to present money to Support Our Paras to fund the excellent work the charity does.”

Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Radbourne, Regimental Lieutenant Colonel of The Parachute Regiment, said: “It has been a pleasure to host Bernard and show him how The Parachute Regiment has changed in the last 70 years, while also maintaining our proud heritage and traditions.

“The hard work that has been put into raising such a fantastic sum of money for Support Our Paras is hugely appreciated and demonstrates the close and supportive bonds that there are between all ex-paratroopers.”

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