By Joseph Willits
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In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, Lord Ashcroft has stated the reasons why he is supporting the launch of Felix Fund, a new charity being created to assist and support bomb disposal experts and their families.
Lord Ashcroft talks of his admiration for the courageous work of bomb disposal experts, and how it was brought about during a training exercise at Melville Barracks, Essex. He spent a day there, researching for his new book, 'George Cross Heroes' with 621 EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Squadron, part of 11 EOD Regiment.
To launch Felix Fund, Lord Ashcroft will be hosting a reception at the House of Lords on September 15th, to begin the campaign to raise £1m for the charity.
Lord Ashcroft highlights the role that members of 11 EOD regiment are playing in Afghanistan, where in recent years, 6 bomb disposal experts have been killed. At present, in Afghanistan, bomb disposal experts can be called to detonate up to 40 lethal devices each day, which is some indication of the huge risk and responsibilty involved in their day to day work.
It is not only in Afghanistan, where the the role of bomb disposal experts is imperative. In 2010, there were 3,000 incidents in the UK and Northern Ireland, where the service of bomb disposal experts was required.
In raising £1m, Felix Fund would be able to ensure several things. Bomb disposal experts will be able to be sent on "normalisation" breaks on their return from Afghanistan. Individual needs will also be met, through Felix Fund Hardship grants, and general facilities for the servicemen and their families improved.