Parents pay tribute to son killed in Ukraine

time:2023-06-09 06:40:44source:NBC News author:Press center3

The parents of an aid worker from Cornwall who was killed in Ukraine have said their son was "an inspiration".

Chris Parry, 28, from Truro, died alongside fellow volunteer Andrew Bagshaw in Soledar last month.

Mr Bagshaw's family said the pair were attempting to rescue a woman in an area of intense military action when their car was hit by an artillery shell.

Chris's parents, Rob and Christine Parry, told BBC Radio Cornwall the family was taking things "day by day".

Mrs Parry said: "Each day, it doesn't get any easier.

"I feel it's just a waste, when I think about all the things he's going to miss out on.

"We're never going to see him again.

"It's very, very hard and the complexity of bringing him back and arranging the funeral, it's very, very hard.

"We're just exhausted, every day we're just mentally exhausted."

Mr and Mrs Parry said their son, who was originally from Truro but had been living in Cheltenham, was "generous" and "full of life".

Paying tribute to Chris, Mr Parry said: "No matter what he did in life, he always had this infectious enthusiasm, energy."

He added: "One of his legacies is life - live it, live it to the full."

Mrs Parry said she and her family will "always feel tied" to Ukraine, adding they were with the Ukrainian people "every step of the way".

She said she had suspicions Chris may have been closer to the front line than he had told her and his father.

Mrs Parry said Chris told them he was only working in Kyiv and in areas already cleared by the military.

Chris also told his parents he was "just a driver", adding he would only drive and wait in the van while other people went in to rescue civilians.

She said she thought Chris wanted to protect them from worry.

"I had my suspicions because I always thought it was a little bit boring what he was telling us he was doing and that was not like Chris," she said.

"Chris would have wanted to be in the thick of it, helping people, and just to be distributing whatever needed to be distributed on lorries to the front line and back again - that was never Chris.

"So, in some ways it was not as big a shock as it could have been."

Mr Parry explained why he and his wife never tried to talk him out of going to Ukraine.

He said: "Chris, if he had his mind set on something... there's nothing you would have done that would have stopped him."

Mrs Parry said Chris was "very keen to get back" to Ukraine before his eventual return later in 2022.

She said: "I think he was still so wrapped up in the war in Ukraine and I'm sure he'd seen some awful things and the banality of life over here, and the trivia of it, he found very hard."

Chris made his parents promise not to look at the Instagram account he used to update on the work he was doing and the situation in Ukraine.

Mrs Parry said her daughter - Chris's sister Kate - had seen the Instagram page and had a clearer idea of what he was doing.

However, because Chris did not want his parents to see the full extent of what he was doing - he made her promise not to tell their parents, Mrs Parry said.

"She said there was a time in October when she got particularly upset because she knew it was very, very dangerous what he was doing.

"I just feel that's so sad for her, that she had to carry that on her own," Mrs Parry said.

Chris's parents had a phone call on the evening of 6 January from the Foreign Office informing them Chris and his colleague Andrew Bagshaw had gone missing.

Mrs Parry said the family "never gave up hope" that Chris would be found.

After being informed of Chris's death over the phone by Devon and Cornwall Police, Mr Parry broke the news to his wife and daughter.

He said they all "cried and cried and cried."

Mr Parry said it had been "so comforting" to receive support from the people of Cornwall and beyond.

He said: "It's amazing how much comfort you get from that and how kind people are in times of stress like that."

Mr and Mrs Parry said they were still waiting for their son's body to be repatriated.

They said they were in the process of planning his funeral, which they said would be held at Truro Cathedral.

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