Fin Doherty - Inspiring Others

Fin Doherty won the 'Inspiring Others' award at The Sun Military Awards 2019.

Private Fin Doherty had been desperate to become a paratrooper, but his inspiration was different to most.

Aged just six, he lost his older brother JJ, who died whilst serving with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan.

"If we could have chosen a career path for Finny, it wouldn't have been this, but selfishly, from our point of view, we just didn't want to go through this again," his mother Joyce said.

"From as long as he could speak, as long as he could talk, as long as he could remember, he just always wanted to do the same, he wanted to be just like his big brother and that was it," she added.

"When I was standing down there, watching my brother pass off, I don't know, I just thought he was like a rockstar or something, so I was like, that's what I want to do," Fin said.

A decade after his sibling's death, Fin enrolled at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

The moment Fin had waited for since he was six years old.

The commanding officer there, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hall, said when Joyce realised it was going to happen, she said to Fin he must make sure he would make his year count.

His journey involved a series of gruelling tests and challenges known as 'P Company' - demanding for even the strongest and most determined of soldiers.

By the end of his training, Fin had become the junior Regimental Sergeant Major, commanding the entire parade as they graduated.

"I think what better way of showing to your mum that it counts than becoming the best soldier in the college. That just about sums this young man up for me," Lt Col Hall said.

In December 2019, Fin passed, earning the coveted maroon beret.

Instead of being given his own, however, he was handed his brother's - presented to him by JJ's best friend, Adam.

Some of the gruelling training known as 'P company'.

"When JJ died, I had a real dilemma with burying him with his beret because I knew he would really want to be, but I also didn't want to part with it so it was really difficult," Joyce said.

"Adam was one of his best friends and his senior and he really looked up to Adam and they had a really good relationship. When I discussed it with him, he said bury him in mine, so that's what I did.

"Fin didn't know, Fin's never known, so I've kept J's beret safe for the last 11 years and the plan was always that Adam would be there and he would give it to Fin so it was really lovely that he was able to make that happen."

For Fin, it was the moment he'd been waiting for ever since he was six years old.

In reflection of his achievements, Private Fin Doherty won the 'Inspiring Others' category at The Sun Military Awards.

Cover image: Shedding a tear - Fin receives his brother's maroon beret in December 2019.

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