Help for Heroes
New charity raises �1 million to help injured servicemen and women
A collaboration between two ex-servicemen, one a gun, the other a beater, has led to a new charity. Help for Heroes - or H4H. Since the beginning of October 2007, it has raised more than �5 million for wounded servicemen and women. LATEST NEWS FROM H4H
With all 3000 places taken on the Big Battlefield Bike Ride (see details below), a call for volunteers for a second ride - the Great Hero Bike Ride - has been launched. We are asking people to get on their bikes and ride from all corners of Great Britain to meet the riders from the BBBR at Whitehall Place on the 1st June 2008 and then join one large group that will ride down Whitehall, lay a wreath at the Cenotaph and then ride past Parliament to a finish at Horse Guards parade.if you are interesting in joining the GHBR, follow the link to the Help for Heroes site at the bottom of this page, and sign up.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The charity was the brainchild of countryside cartoonist (he designed the bear logo below) and gun, Bryn Parry, an ex-Rifleman who became concerned about what happens to soldiers with severe injuries. Together with his wife Emma, he decided to raise money and he rang his friends for help, including Mark Elliott, founder of NOBs, part-time marathon runner, fundraiser, and beater. Trying to find out where funds were most needed, Bryn was told that service rehabilitation centre Headley Court was bussing soldiers with severe injuries and amputations to the nearest public swimming pool because they had no pool of their own. Raising enough money to pay for a pool and gym is the charity's first target.
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Bryn Parry describes H4H like this: "It’s about Derri, a rugby player who has lost both his legs, it about Carl whose jaw is wired up so he has been drinking through a straw. It’s about Richard who was handed a mobile phone as he lay on the stretcher so he could say goodbye to his wife. It is about Ben, it's about Steven and Andy and Mark, it's about them all. They are just blokes but they are our blokes; they are our heroes. We want to help our heroes."
THE BIG BATTLEFIELD BIKE RIDE
The first fundraising idea was the Big Battlefield Bike Ride - it will begin in Portsmouth, travel to Normandy and the Somme, then back to Dover and London on Sunday June 1, 2008. Three hundred riders duly signed up. But it didn't stop there. Bryn Parry (left) has described the charity as setting off 'a wave of co-operation' and 'a force for good'. Fundraising ideas, volunteers, offers of support and equipment came pouring in. The Sun newspaper began campaigning for them. Patrons including General Sir Richard Dannatt and Johnson Beharry VC signed up. The charity's distinctive three-coloured wrist bands were spotted on the wrists of Princes William and Harry.
Mark Elliott (right) has been involved from the start and also set himself a personal challenge of raising �10,000 for Help for Heroes - and he is already more than halfway there! He has begun his warm up for the Big Battlefield Bike Ride by completing the Barcelona Marathon (in 3hrs 9mins) and the London Marathon. You can donate via his fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/markelliotthelpforheroes
Others are raising money with parties, sponsored swims, or by giving the proceeds from a concert. One beater is offering to donate his tip from a day's shoot. And as this is a charity with such close links to the shooting and beating communities, it would be nice to hear of a few more events in this line. There is lots of potential - guns could pay a small 'fee' to the charity for every bird shot; beaters and guns could hold a sweepstake to guess at the total number of birds, or shoot owners could aution a day's shooting to the highest bidder. Visit the Help for Heroes website for more information and to learn more about the aims of the charity at www.helpforheroes.org.uk