THE father of a Hampshire soldier who became the 300th member of the armed forces to die in Afghanistan has launched his own charity drive to help injured service personnel.

Robin Hollington, whose son Marine Richard Hollington died in June 2010, wants people to get involved in his Dogs Dinner fundraiser – a nationwide initiative to raise money for Hounds for Heroes.

The charity provides specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled men and women of both the UK armed rorces and civilian emergency services.

Mr Hollington wants people to consider hosting or attending a dinner party over the coming weekend to help raise money for the cause.

All of this is in memory of Richard, a 23-year-old semi-professional footballer with Fareham Town who was on patrol in the war-torn country as part of 40 Commando when he was caught up in an explosion.

It happened in the troubled Sangin province and Richard was flown back to a military hospital in Birmingham where he died eight days later from his injuries and after contracting meningitis.

His father, who lives near Petersfield, has already completed a nonstop 103-mile “yomp”

across the South Downs from Eastbourne to Winchester to raise money for Help for Heroes in May last year.

As part of this new venture a website with party ideas, recipes – including one from celebrity chef Rick Stein – and menus has also been launched, but people can eat and dine however they choose.

Robin, who has previously described Richard’s death as having left “a huge numbing hole” in his life, said he was honoured that one of the first puppy cadets funded through Hounds for Heroes has been named Yomper Richie, in memory of his son, but added many more dogs are still needed.

He said: “It costs £20,000 to provide the specialist training and then fund the eight years of each dog’s working life – but for the people the dogs will help it’s priceless.”