A group of wounded, injured and sick veterans from the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester responded to a plea for help by local councillor Dave Harris after a World War II bunker was defaced with graffiti only weeks after being painted by local schoolchildren.
Help for Heroes Band of Brothers members Melvin White, Bob Ward, Ryan Lewis and Band of Sisters member Karen Usher, discussed how to refresh the shelter. Ryan, a 7th Parachute Royal Horse Artillery Veteran, came up with the design, which included all of 16th Air Assault Brigade’s Drop Zone flash badges and Pegasus insignia. Drop Zone flash badges are worn by the UK Airborne Forces and all squadrons of the RAF Regiment, and were initially introduced to meet the requirement for identifying and coordinating Airborne Forces on Drop Zones and at rendezvous points.
The 16th Air Assault Brigade of the Parachute Regiment is based in Colchester and many wounded, particularly serving personnel, use the Recovery Centre as part of their recuperation. For Ryan it was important to maintain local military links within the design.
Ryan, who was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012, said: “When I heard about the project, I knew exactly what I wanted to include in the design. The Brigade plays a big part in Colchester’s community and I wanted to keep that link between our serving, our wounded and those we remember. It was also good for me and my recovery to have something to focus on.”
Cllr Dave Harris said: “For the community to rally round and work with Help for Heroes is a statement of how we feel about the army in our town. We have a special relationship with our army servicemen and women. This project was borne out of a negative vandalism story and will be an inspiration to passers-by.”
The Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester welcomes recovering wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel and Veterans, as well as their loved ones. A range of activities and opportunities are offered, including taking part in the world-class sports recovery sessions, provision of welfare support and guidance, help from a psychological wellbeing team and holistic sessions such as yoga, massage, Pilates, arts and crafts – all with the aim of facilitating recovery.
Look out for future dates in the East Region over the summer where Abbie will be organising lots of family picnics and days out to get involved in! If you have any good ideas for locations, please contact Abbie on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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