It has started to get busy on the lead up to Christmas, and what better way than to have an event which had wonderful projection lighting through different plants and trees of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, which told a story of different regions from around the world. Botanical Lights has turned into a yearly event in Scotland and the theme this time was Explore, which indeed we did! 15 BoB/BoS attended on a cold, clear and thankfully dry night. Bang on 7.30pm we were let through the gate into a mystical shadowy path. Of course, it would have been rude to pass the mulled wine van and this set us up nicely for the 1½ km stroll. There were 7 specific areas in total, the first being China, then the Himalayas, California, Journey to Africa, the climb to Nepal, the Arctic, Tropics, World Heritage and Europe. Everybody seemed to enjoy the unique experience and Ada and her daughter who had travelled from Prestwick by train for the occasion stated “it was a wonder world which was just like a fairy land”.
The part that everybody seemed to enjoy the most was the Chinese Garden where they had millions of water droplets changing into moving dragons and soldiers while the music and the lighting changed colour. It really was spectacular and I would strongly recommend going next year. It is wheelchair friendly and very well organised indeed.
The following weekend, 6 BoB & BoS made their way up to Nairn to the Highland Cycle Disability Centre. There was a 1km track, some of it challenging in places with a state of the art timing system. The owners were so helpful and had laid on many different types of bikes for us so that all disabilities were catered for. Ian, one of our BoB stated “the service was great and nothing was too much bother”.
There were also coffee mornings at Lossiemouth and Ullapool and the Lossiemouth group are now meeting up and socialising independently of the fixed Meet & Greets that I arrange. This is wonderful news. Well done!
Do keep an eye on your emails for upcoming dates and offers in the New Year!
North West Updates
I would like this opportunity to thank everybody for their kind emails and phone calls since I have joined the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers & Band of Sisters Team.
My first day at Phoenix House was brilliant. The warm welcome from the first moment I went through the door was like I was part of the family. The facilities were amazing, and everybody had a smile on their face.
Day two was the Halloween party for BoB/BoS families. As the newbie I had the role of cleaning out the pumpkins. The party was a great opportunity for families to meet other families and for me to meet some new faces! The children loved the apple bobbing and having their faces painted.
Week 2 – Would I be able to go to the BoB/BoS BA Simulator day?
I tried not to smile too much and accept the offer too quickly. BoB/BoS had the opportunity to go to the University of Liverpool, and fly in various flight simulators. At the end of the day it felt we had graduated from Top Gun, we were flying planes like experts.
After the simulators we held a small get together of BoB/BoS and we had the opportunity to talk and meet the fellowship that lived in the North West area.
I am based in the RBL offices in Manchester and it’s good to see two veteran charities working together. I have done so much in my first month that I feel I have been part of the charity for a lot longer. I cannot wait to see what next month brings.
What’s coming up?
- Thursday 1 December – BoB/BoS Get together at Manchester City Football Club
Northern Ireland Updates
As November comes to a close, it’s lovely to look back and see how busy it has been.
Fourteen BoB and BoS showed their competitive sides at the family Halloween bowling on Monday 31 October. It was a short but sweet match with many showing off impressive skills, especially our little six year old bowling wonder!
The Mission Motorsport NI team hosted their first taster track day on Tuesday 1 November, which was a resounding success. Several participants have said how great it was to meet the team and have a go in the karts, and are thoroughly looking forward to the next event. I’d like to say huge congratulations to the three BoBs who coordinate Mission Motorsport NI – future events and plans sound very exciting so I encourage any other BoB and BoS who are interested in karting to go for a spin!
I was fortunate enough to take part in Mental Health First Aid training in Phoenix House this month. This informative two day course taught participants about various mental health conditions and how to appropriately support those who may be experiencing difficulties. The group was made up of staff members and beneficiaries, which facilitated interesting conversations owing to personal experiences. Again, I would highly recommend this course and if anyone is interested, would suggest putting your name forward for the Phoenix House courses in April and May 2017.
The Lisburn Branch of The Royal British Legion kindly invited Help for Heroes to join their Festival of Remembrance event on Friday 11 November. Help for Heroes had an information stand alongside Combat Stress, and our two volunteers and I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with guests, answering any questions and raising the profile of Help for Heroes in NI.
It was a pleasure to catch up with BoB and BoS at two meet-ups this month- Newtownards on Tuesday 29 November and Coleraine on Wednesday 30 November. Visiting the Somme Heritage Centre in Newtownards was fascinating and very thought provoking considering it is the Battle of the Somme’s centenary.
December is a month of BoB and BoS festivities, with a Christmas lunch on Sunday 11 December and festive family day on Tuesday 20 December - I’m looking forward to seeing some delightful Christmas jumpers…the cheesier the better!
North East Updates
I just want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to anyone I have yet to meet and just say hello!
How fast time flies, it felt like it was only yesterday that I started as your new BoB/BoS Coordinator for the North East and it has been an absolute pleasure meeting you all and I’m very much looking forward to meeting many more of you in the future.
We kicked off the Festivities with our Family Halloween Party here at Phoenix house at the end of October. We had a wonderful turnout with some harrowing costumes, including werewolves, zombies, pirates and maybe one or two Princesses. The kids pumpkin carving was some of the best I have ever seen, although I think parents were getting well and truly stuck in as well. You’re never too old to enjoy Halloween! Hannah turned her hand at some face painting which the children really enjoyed, including Lucy with her six legged spider on her face.
Liverpool University invited us to go and test our skills on their numerous flight simulators, giving us all the opportunity to show off our flying/falling skills. Some of us may not have got off the ground, some of us managed to stay in the air, others managed to plummet to the ground almost before we even took off. All I’m saying is thank god it was only a simulator. We had two British Airways pilots talking us through some acrobatics and showing us the sights of Liverpool as we flew over. The University were great hosts, providing us with a lovely lunch and refreshments throughout the day. We had a great turn out and all enjoyed the day (minus the drive back in traffic at the end).
On Thursday 17 November we had a BoB/BoS coffee morning in The Baltic Centre in Gateshead where I got to meet more of you lovely lot. I will be arranging more of these events in the New Year and will send out dates closer to the time.
If you think of anything that would be great to do feel free to send me an email on: Harriet.email@example.com
What's coming up in the north east?
- Wednesday 7 December – BoB Christmas Party (Full)
- Wednesday 14 December – Family Christmas Party 3pm-6pm (all are welcome)
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