Family's bid to make final memories with beloved former soldier

Darren Mountain, from Dereham, pictured with his family

Daren Mountain, from Dereham, pictured with his family - Credit: Mountain family

A military man has been told to make some final memories with his family as he battles a rare form of cancer. 

Daren Mountain, who lives in Sandy Lane, Dereham, was first diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma back in 2017.

Darren Mountain, from Dereham, has a rare cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma

Daren Mountain, from Dereham, has a rare cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma - Credit: Mountain family

It came at an already-traumatic time for Mr Mountain and his wife, Lisa, whose 18-year-old son Joshua had died in an accident six months earlier. 

A few weeks later, the former soldier endured a 10-hour operation to remove a tumour that had invaded the nerves and muscle in his left jaw.

The surgery not only left him physically disabled, but mentally shattered. 

And, to make matters worse, Mr Mountain was told the cancer would likely metastasize in his lungs within five years. 

Darren Mountain (right) with his brother Daren (left) and brother-in-law Ben

Daren Mountain (right) with his brother Dean (left) and brother-in-law Ben - Credit: Stacy Murfit

Sure enough, the 44-year-old was given the dreaded news that the disease had returned last year.

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Despite the best efforts of medical professionals, typical treatments and remedies have proved ineffective. 

Mr Mountain's sister, Stacy Murfit, said: "It is so rare that there are no real studies on it that we can find.

"At the moment they are just keeping him comfortable with pain meds and he is now in palliative care.

Darren Mountain (second from right), from Dereham, pictured during his time in the Royal Anglian Regiment

Daren Mountain (second from right), from Dereham, pictured during his time in the Royal Anglian Regiment - Credit: Mountain family

"Fortunately he is still able to get around, but it has really taken its toll on his mental health."

Amid dark times, Mr Mountain has been spurred on by the arrival of his first grandchild, Eli, which gave him a "reason to get out of bed in the morning".

He and loved ones are determined to make the most of their remaining time together, but physical and financial constraints render many of his bucket list dreams - such as visiting Jamaica - impossible. 

However, as a compromise, Mrs Murfit and Paul Sandford, landlord at the Railway Tavern, hatched a plan to bring Jamaica to him. 

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern, is providing transport for anyone wishing to attend R

Paul Sandford, landlord at the Railway Tavern in Dereham - Credit: Archant

From 2pm this Saturday (July 16), the Tavern will host Reggae Festival, featuring live music, BBQ jerk chicken and Red Stripe beer.

There will also be a raffle and an auction with items including signed sporting memorabilia, money from which will go into a fundraiser for Mr Mountain and family.

"Daren just loves reggae and ska music - it always makes his day," added Mrs Murfit. 

"I knew he would love this, especially having all his friends and family around him. Paul has been amazing in making it happen."

To donate, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lisa-mountain.

Darren and Lisa Mountain, from Dereham, with their grandson Eli

Daren and Lisa Mountain, from Dereham, with their grandson Eli - Credit: Stacy Murfit