Help for Heroes Industry Ambassadors are tasked with representing and promoting Help for Heroes into their business networks and communities.
They unlock networks, facilitate introductions and create relationships in support income generation for the Charity.
In short, our Industry Ambassador Programme is all about making friends, generating income and creating opportunities that respond to the organisational needs and objectives of Help for Heroes.
We have now appointed three Industry Ambassadors (click the blue bars below to expand each selection):
Ben Hughes, Global Commercial Director of the Financial Times, knew exactly why he wanted to become one of Help for Heroes’ first Industry Ambassadors. He explains: “People who protect us and fight for our rights and are injured in the process need to be looked after, looked up to and admired. Hero is not a word to be used lightly.”
Ben first heard about the Charity through Help for Heroes Patron, friend and former England Rugby Union International, Simon Halliday. He credits boldness, ambition and collaborating with great people as essential tips for getting ahead in his industry and hopes to bring these qualities with him to Help for Heroes, saying: “I’m most excited about helping to develop an organisation that already does some amazing things and encouraging others to become involved too.”
Getting involved has never been easier. Be it a private donation, a cake sale or an exotic trek, there are so many ways to do your bit to help us help our heroes. For Ben, his favourite moment so far was running a half-marathon with his daughter in Bath. They raised more than £3000.
One of Help for Heroes’ main promises is to inspire, enable and support those who have made sacrifices serving their country to reach their full potential. For those looking to transition from military life to working on civvy street Ben offers this advice: “Find and discover what you want to do. Experiment with different things if you have to. Then give your chosen path all you’ve got.”
He continues by citing enthusiasm and energy as the most important qualities he looks for, as well as those who are able to bounce back: “Anyone who gets knocked down and gets up again to fight on is a hero. That’s another reason I wanted to get involved with the Charity. It’s what our Heroes do.”
Gareth Ellis-Unwin is used to his films affecting audiences, but he experienced it first-hand whilst working as an executive producer on Kajaki: The True Story: “I’ve known about Help for Heroes since its inception and always felt it played an important part in modernising the military charity sector. It was my work on Kajaki that offered me direct contact with a number of serving veterans, many of which had been through Help for Heroes Recovery Centres.”
Kajaki, about a group of British soldiers sent out to disable a Taliban roadblock, was nominated for a BAFTA and Gareth hopes its legacy will benefit both those involved in conflicts and Help for Heroes itself: “Film is almost immortal and if people want to re-watch it in 10, 15, 20 years’ time and get a reminder of those the charity supports it should stand the test of time.”
Gareth considers perseverance and attitude as key attributes for a successful career: “And that’s not just being a good worker either; affability, calm under stress, empathy. I’d take someone with a good heart and the right attitude over qualifications.”
Every wounded Serviceman or woman’s recovery is different, but with proper support Gareth believes their lives can be transformed for the better. “I don’t think there is anyone that can’t cite moments of self-doubt, worries for the future or difficult times. We’ve all had tricky times, but they pale in comparison when you hear some of the wounded’s stories.”
After the release of Kajaki, Gareth was keen to do whatever he could do to help: “My favourite Help for Heroes moment so far is the 2015 Hero Ride which was pretty amazing, apart from the fact I was walking like Steptoe for a couple of days after!”
Peter Eaton is Deputy Chairman of Halewood International, the UK’s largest independent drinks manufacturer and distributor. He has long been an admirer of Servicemen and women: “I’ve had close contact from an early age over many years with Ex-servicemen from the First World War all the way to the present day. My admiration for their bravery and sacrifice knows no bounds.”
Peter was inspired to become involved with Help for Heroes after learning about its founders, Bryn and Emma Parry: “Hearing their tremendous story of how they fought against all the odds to make Tedworth House happen, made me feel so humble and also made me realise how lucky myself and my family are to not be affected by war. For me to be involved knowing every penny raised and every effort given is going towards, in my opinion, one of the most worthwhile causes is very exciting.”
Part of wounded Servicemen and women’s recovery is finding a new purpose in life after their time in the military. For any beneficiaries looking to move into a new career, Peter recommends: “Sheer determination and hard work, there is no secret! Be as open-minded as you can because, unfortunately, most people have absolutely no idea of what you have been through, so try to be patient with them. Life is full of twists and turns. I’m a firm believer in taking every day a day at a time.”
Help for Heroes Celebrity Ambassadors are tasked with representing and promoting Help for Heroes into their business networks and communities.
They unlock networks, facilitate introductions and create relationships in support income generation for the Charity.
In short, our Celebrity Ambassador Programme is all about making friends, generating income and creating opportunities that respond to the organisational needs and objectives of Help for Heroes.
We have now appointed the following Celebrity Ambassadors (click the blue bars below to expand each selection):
Norwich City and England international goalkeeper John Ruddy has a lifelong affiliation with the Armed Forces. Growing up in Tidworth barracks until he was eight years old, his father served in the Light Infantry and his grandfather and two uncles were in the RAF. His best man also served in Afghanistan and the two planned to join the Army together until John signed his first professional football contract.
Speaking about becoming an Ambassador, John says: “It’s an absolute honour and a privilege to be asked to be involved with Help for Heroes. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and doing whatever I can that’ll let it help even more people.
“Football can’t compare to what the guys and girls have been through. For them, it’s not just a test physically but also mentally. Mental illnesses such as depression are a taboo subject in sport and I think in the military it’s even more of a case. You almost feel embarrassed to admit there’s a problem but recognising it, talking to people and utilising the Charity are huge steps forward.”
The Armed Forces have always been part of Premier League striker Connor Wickham’s life as his father, Stefan, served in the Army for 24 years.
Now a Veteran, it was Stefan who introduced him to Help for Heroes. One of Connor’s first interactions with the Charity was through Twitter in 2013. Promising to donate 10p for every retweet his post got in an hour, the total came to £1,730: “Now I want to help across the whole Charity. I’ve always been interested in coming down to events and challenges. I’d love to get involved and do stuff with ‘the blokes’.”
Connor is particularly passionate about raising awareness of the need for good psychological support for those who served: “There’s stuff every soldier will see they’ll never want to talk about. They feel they can’t and suffer because of that. I think the wounds people can’t see are majorly overlooked.
“Just because the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have finished doesn’t mean the troubles are over for those who served. What they’ve been through isn’t going to disappear just like that.
“As an Ambassador, I just want to help in any way I can. It’s an honour to do my bit to help the guys and girls who served, and sacrificed, on my behalf.”
Kelly Hall’s support of Help for Heroes comes from close ties with the Armed Forces. Her stepdad was in the Navy and her grandad served in the Army.
It was her work with The Sun newspaper that first introduced Kelly to the Charity. Learning about the work it does to support our wounded, inured and sick, she knew she wanted to get involved: “People assume when Servicemen and women come back from conflicts that’s it. But when you see first-hand what they’ve been through you realise for a lot of them the battle has just begun – that’s why I want to help.”
To raise funds, Kelly joined some of her fellow ‘Hotshots’ on a trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Together, they raised over £47,000. For Kelly, it’s been her standout Help for Heroes moment so far: “To reach the summit was amazing. It’s definitely been my favourite experience since I joined the Help for Heroes family.”
As an Ambassador, Kelly is already eyeing up more challenges and hopes to get involved with the Charity in any way she can: “The most important thing, whatever I do, is to give our Heroes the opportunities and support they need to recover. They mustn’t be forgotten about after all they’ve done for us.”
Drummond Money-Coutts, known as DMC, is used to wowing audiences all over the world with his unbelievable tricks and death-defying stunts. But, during his first visit to the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House, he got a reaction he’d never experienced before: “I gave a show to the beneficiaries and their families. Afterwards one of the chaps told me that watching the show was the first time in weeks he hadn’t needed to take morphine to soften the pain from his wounds. That took my breath away, I’ll never forget it.”
DMC’s military affiliation goes as far back as 1945 – his grandfather was an officer in the 2nd Battalion of the Queen’s Westminsters and was awarded the Military Cross: “I’ve always held the highest possible admiration and respect for all those in the Armed Forces who defend our country and have always wanted to support them.
“There are men and women out there whose lives have been changed by combat. There is still a profound need for the incredible work the Charity does and it’s only just beginning. I want to assist in any way I can.
“It has always been a great dream of mine to use magic for means beyond simply entertaining. Hopefully there are many more projects ahead so I can contribute to the Charity’s brilliant work.”
Legendary broadcaster Bob Harris has been at the heart of the British music scene since co-founding ‘Time Out’ magazine in 1968 and joining Radio 1 in 1970. As well as bringing countless bands into the public eye, he also runs his own production company, has been awarded an OBE and even interviewed a US President.
Known affectionately as ‘Whispering Bob’, he first got involved with Help for Heroes when he was the MC at the Charity’s Cricket for Heroes event in September 2015. With more than 40 years of broadcasting experience, he was delighted to give advice to Veterans at the event interested in beginning a new career in the media
Bob says: “Hearing about what they’ve been through it’s easy to see why their self-confidence takes a huge knock. Rebuilding their lives isn’t something that can be done overnight. The support they get from Help for Help is vital.
“It’s incredibly important for wounded Servicemen and women to know that there are people who care about them. I want to contribute to all aspects of the Charity, with particular emphasis on cricket and music fundraising events where I feel I can be the most helpful.”
Escala’s first involvement with the Charity goes back to 2008 when they performed to a crowd of over 50,000 at Twickenham stadium for the rugby match in aid of Help for Heroes. It wouldn’t be the electric string quartet’s last sporting event with the Charity, as in 2015 they performed at the inaugural Cricket for Heroes: “We were extremely proud and humbled. To be able to show our support to those who sacrificed so much is a privilege.”
Since coming on board as Ambassadors, Victoria , Honor, Stephanie and Helen say they can’t wait to continue to support ‘the blokes’: “It’s great to be with this incredible charity. The feeling that you’re giving something back definitely makes being Ambassadors extra special. The Armed Forces may not be currently fighting a war, but those who served are still affected and need continued support.
“Being part of the Armed Forces is a lifestyle that doesn’t just take over the lives of those who’ve served, but also the lives of their family and friends. That’s why Help for Heroes is so important.”
Liverpool midfielder James Milner was away on international duty with England when he first got involved with Help for Heroes: “The Charity partnered the England Footballers Foundation and I made a couple of appearances to support the great work it does. I have massive respect for our Armed Forces and what they do and go through.”
In 2012, James founded the James Milner Foundation to support sporting initiatives that offer opportunities to young people in the UK. Since its inception, the foundation has worked closely with Help for Heroes and its Sports Recovery Programme to help our wounded, injured and sick rebuild their lives using sport.
James’ fantastic commitment to the cause was typified when he visited the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House, to present a cheque for £50,000 on behalf of his foundation: “Seeing the Recovery Centre for the first time left me hugely impressed. Everyone there uses the facility to push themselves in their recovery.”
As an Ambassador James hopes to champion the need for enduring support, which he considers essential in recovery: “Lives have changed forever. Help for Heroes needs to continue to be there so the wounded can transition back into civilian life. I’m proud to be part of a charity that is so dedicated to helping and creating new opportunities for them.”
With close family ties to the Armed Forces, Jodie has been a long-term supporter of Help for Heroes: “My great-grandfather was a minister of war production, my grandfather was a Canadian RAF pilot and my grandmother was a ferry pilot during World War Two. I also have several close friends serving today.”
Determined to do her bit in her role as an Ambassador, Jodie is taking on a variety of challenges, dubbed ‘Challenge Kiddo’, to raise money for Help for Heroes. She has already taken part in Arch to Arc – dubbed ‘the world’s hardest triathlon’ – cycled 350 miles through Burma and climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The reason for her commitment is clear: “I want to raise as much as I can. The people who have been wounded need to be looked after for the rest of their lives, not just while they are on active duty.”
Jodie hopes these challenges are just the start: “I want to be part of lots of different areas of Help for Heroes. I’m particularly interested in doing what I can to raise awareness in the area of psychological support as I think it’s so important that people living with the hidden wounds of service get help too.”
Antony Cotton’s support for the Armed Forces began after a chance tweet from Corporal David Annetts who was out on Operation Herrick: “He asked me to send him some signed photographs of the cast from Corrie, basically a morale boost.”
The Coronation Street star was later introduced to other soldiers who would serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. To make his new friends’ tours a little more bearable, Antony would send out shoeboxes every week filled with home comforts including DVDs, magazines, biscuits, sweets and even fancy dress.
When one of his mates returned home after serving abroad, Antony could see he needed support. It was here his involvement with Help for Heroes started: “He was really struggling so came to the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Phoenix House, and I drove over to meet him there. The first thing that struck me when I walked in was how brilliant the set-up was. My friend is now a beneficiary and is getting the help he needs.
“What H4H has done is find a specific way to deal with specific things. People are unique, there’s no point trying to put a square peg into a round hole. The Charity has understood this by bringing together everything they might need to recover.
“It’s a privilege and an honour to be an Ambassador and I’ll do all I can to help.”
Regular donations provide a sustained focus on rebuilding the lives of our wounded Servicemen and women.