COLOUR Serjeant Kevin Fortuna gave 19 years of his life to the Army.

But if you’d have met him on the street in his home town of Colchester, you’d never have known it.

The worlds of military life and family life rarely collided for Kevin.

Father-in-law Mike Jackson said: “When he was at home, he wasn’t a soldier.

“You wouldn’t have known he wasn’t just an office worker in Colchester, he kept that side of his life utterly separate.

“We found out more about his Army life from his mates once he had gone.

“I don’t think we’ll ever really know exactly what that side of his life was like.”

We can gain an understanding of Kevin Fortuna, the soldier, by looking to tributes from his colleagues.

In short, he was a towering professional who was utterly committed to his role.

As is so often the case with war, his unceremonious end did not befit his station.

Kevin was 36 when he stepped on a roadside bomb’s pressure pad while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2011.

In the words of Royal Marines Major Jason Durup following his former colleague’s death: “He was killed by an insurgent improvised explosive device whilst leading his men; a cynical and cowardly mechanism of death that is unbecoming a man of his courage and stature.”


Nine years on and Kevin’s legacy is truly remarkable.

Spearheaded by Mike and supported by about 30 regular helpers, Kevin’s family are inching towards a target of raising £250,000 for the military charity Help for Heroes.

They do this through every means imaginable, including collecting in supermarkets and completing an annual 26-mile bike ride.

Mike said: “Thanks to the help and support of countless people we got to £10,000 surprisingly quickly so re-set the target to £25,000, then to £50,000 and then to £100,000.

“By Christmas 2014 we had reached the six-figure milestone, but no-one seemed to be able to find the off switch so we had to keep going.”

As to how Kevin’s family cope almost ten years on, time is a factor.

Mike still uses Kevin’s old bicycle during fundraising rides, acquired by Kevin during a tour in Cyprus.

“As time goes on you find ways of dealing with the grief,” he said.

“We still go up to the cemetery fairly regularly and were up there on Christmas Day.

“It doesn’t seem as sombre as it once was. I leaned his old bike against his headstone and thought about Kev.

“When we did the bike ride last May in Gloucester, a chap appeared who said he used to serve with Kevin in Cyprus when he bought his bike.

“When Kevin had finished his tour of duty, the commanding officer suggested he ride his bike back rather than fly as his mode of transport.

“He had that bike from 1997 until 2011 and he never maintained it.

“I decided one day if Kevin couldn’t do the bike rides, then in his honour, his old bike still could.”


Mike’s enthusiasm for supporting Help for Heroes is not waning.

“It is hard to quantify,” he said. “If someone asks me why we do this, I respond ‘That’s a good question, but why wouldn’t you do this?’

“So many people want to show their support, admiration and gratitude to the armed forces, we just make it easy for them by hanging around with a bucket.”

To donate to the cause, visit