A PORTRAIT of a heroic paratrooper whose actions have become the stuff of legend has been unveiled.

Corporal Bryan Budd, of 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for “inspirational leadership and supreme valour” he showed during two firefights in Afghanistan.

By tradition, 3 Para has a portrait made of all VC winners and commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Huw Williams presented Cpl Budd’s painting on Thursday.

It shows the incident in which the 29-year-old was killed on August 20, 2006, when he single-handedly charged Taleban fighters to allow wounded colleagues to be evacuated.

Lt Col Williams said Cpl Budd had to make a life or death decision after four soldiers were injured in a heavy firefight.

He said: “His decision, and maybe he didn’t even think but reacted, was to go forward, which allowed the men under his command to withdraw.

“All the other men survived and we can never know what would have happened otherwise.”

He described Cpl Budd as an exceptional soldier who “people looked up to, respected and followed as a leader”.

Major Jamie Loden, who was Cpl Budd’s company commander, said his death came at the end of a 35-day period in Sangin in which there had been fighting on 33 days.

He said: “I wasn’t out on the patrol, but what I remember was the sinking feeling when we heard there was a man missing.

“There was a huge collective determination we had to do whatever it took to get him back. When we found his body there were three dead Taleban lying around him.”

Maj Loden said all the soldiers in Cpl Budd’s section wanted to be like him and praised his leadership and compassion.

Artist Stuart Brown said it was an honour to do the portrait. He said: “It was important not to overplay the image, because Corporal Budd’s actions speak for themselves.”

A limited edition of 650 signed prints are being sold to raise funds for the Afghanistan Trust, which supports paratroopers and their families injured or killed in Helmand.