Peta has been a key supporter of H4H since the start and has thrown herself into many fundraising events, including the H4H Big Battlefield Bike Ride, toboggan racing and wingwalking. She has even visited Afghanistan to boost troop morale. Peta was one of our most famous page 3 models, featuring in pages from the Sun to FHMs 2008 Calendar and is now a busy writer, mother and professional cycling fan! She truly is the Forces pin-up!
The professional cycling star has joined fiancée Peta Todd as an official supporter of the Charity. Mark is a perfect fit with the Charity as it continues to grow its strong association with cycling. H4H was founded with a fundraising bike ride in 2007 and has continued to utilise the sport as a great means for the recovery of our wounded heroes.
Mark first became involved with H4H in 2010, when he attended an event in California; here he met Peta who was in the welcoming party for the injured war veterans who had just completed a trans-America charity bike ride. Mark has continued his support of the Charity by visiting Headley Court and the Help for Heroes run Recovery Centres and by meeting numerous brave wounded heroes.
Ross Kemp is an actor, author and BAFTA winning documentary maker. He rose to prominence in the role of Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap opera, EastEnders. Since 2006, Kemp has received international recognition for his investigative documentaries, specialising in the area of gang culture. His latest endeavours have seen him on the front line with British Troops during OP HERRICKS 6, 7 and 9.
Lorraine Kelly is a TV presenter and journalist: "I am honoured to be a Patron of Help for Heroes and to be involved in the incredible work they do. It is so important that we all get the chance to say thank you to our Armed Forces and for them to know how grateful we are for their service and sacrifices." Lorraine is a keen supporter of Help for Heroes Band of Sisters, taking a personal interest in their stories, and is the face of the H4H Colossal Cake Sale.
From the day he was found in a carrier bag on the steps of Guy's Hospital, Andy McNab has lived an extraordinary life. As a teenage delinquent, he kicked against society. As a young soldier he waged war against the IRA in the streets and fields of South Armagh. As a member of 22 SAS he was at the centre of covert operations for nine years – on five continents. Awarded both the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Military Medal (MM) during his military career, McNab was the British Army's most highly decorated serving soldier when he finally left the SAS. Since then he has become one of the world’s bestselling writers, drawing on his insider knowledge and experience. As well as three nonfiction bestsellers, he is the author of the bestselling Nick Stone thrillers. Besides his writing work, he lectures to security and intelligence agencies in both the USA and UK; works in the film industry advising Hollywood on everything from covert procedure to training civilian actors to act likes soldiers; writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines, and continues to be a spokesperson and fundraiser for both military and literacy charities.
James was commissioned an officer in the Life Guards regiment, a unit of the Household Cavalry of the British Army. He rose to the rank of Captain and served as an armoured reconnaissance officer in the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo. He was put in charge of leading 30,000 troops into Pristina as the first British officer to enter the Kosovan capital. It was while on duty in Kosovo that he wrote the song "No Bravery".
Simon is a former England Rugby Union International. In 1983, Simon dislocated his ankle and was out of rugby for a couple of years. Part of his recovery was spent at Headley Court, which was also looking after the Falkland Veterans at the time. It was there that Simon says he learnt perspective, and gained an understanding of the bravery and humility of our wounded soldiers. After recovering, Simon went on to represent England in 23 international matches from 1986 to 1992, including the 1991 World Cup and 1992 Five Nations Championship. Simon first became involved with H4H in 2007, contributing to the development of the Charity's swimming pool and rehabilitation centre at DMRC Headley Court. Since then, Simon has supported various H4H initiatives and was instrumental in the organisation of the Heroes Rugby matches in 2008 and 2011, which raised over £2m for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, veterans and their families.
Sir Ian Botham
"These days the word Hero is used far too often! Over the years I have been inspired by many people, from the incredible young boys and girls with Leukaemia to our brave Servicemen and women, all of them real Heroes. I had the privilege of visiting Selly Oak Hospital some months ago where I met just some of the wounded Heroes from our Armed Services. It was a humbling and inspirational visit.
"Our young men and women of the Armed Forces will say that they are not heroes, they will tell you that they are just blokes doing their job. I think that anyone who volunteers to serve in time of war, knowing that they may risk all, is a hero. These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things and some of them are living with the consequences of their service for life. We may not be able to prevent Servicemen and women from being wounded, but together we can help them get better. I am delighted to be able to 'do my bit' to help Real Heroes and ask that you do your bit, for only being united can we ensure these courageous young men and women get the very best, they deserve it! I am delighted, honoured and very proud to become a Patron of Help For Heroes. Please join me and Help for Heroes, together we can make a difference."
Chris Holmes MBE MA
Chris Holmes is Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer and was Director of Paralympic Integration for London 2012. A lifelong campaigner for equality and inclusion, Chris was appointed to the House of Lords in 2013 as the Lord Holmes of Richmond. Chris currently divides his time between parliamentary work, a role as Head of Disability at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and various speaking, consultancy and charitable commitments.
As a boy Chris was a promising sportsman; on school teams for most sports and academically gifted with a distinct ambition to get to Cambridge University, by no means a normal next step from the Kidderminster Comprehensive he attended. At the age of 14 and completely unexpectedly Chris went blind overnight. His extraordinary courage and determination took him back into the pool, and just four years later to straight A’s for his A-levels and a place at Cambridge. That same year he won a record-breaking six gold medals at the Barcelona Paralympics.
In total Chris won nine gold medals, including the record six gold medals at a single Paralympics. He gained a string of World and European titles, broke 35 world records and was awarded an MBE for services to British sport at the age of 20. He was member of the Great Britain swimming team for seventeen years and captain for five.
After retiring from competitive swimming Chris worked as a journalist before qualifying and working as a commercial lawyer specialising in employment and pensions. He also took non-Executive Director roles at the Disability Rights Commission and UK Sport and was an Ambassador for the successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic bid.
In 2009 Chris was appointed Director of Paralympic Integration for London 2012. In this role, Chris drew on political skills, strategic know-how and his incredible determination to deliver the most successful Paralympics ever. It worked. London 2012 was the first games to have all sponsors signed to both Olympics and Paralympics, the first games to sell out all the stadia for every session and, incredibly, the first games to achieve worldwide television audiences in the hundreds of millions.
In recognition of Chris’s talents and contribution to the country he was invited by the Prime Minister to enter the House of Lords. Chris relishes this new political role and his experiences navigating the ancient corridors of power with guide dog Lottie offer numerous entertaining anecdotes. His priorities as a parliamentarian are business, transport, education, employment, pensions, diversity and inclusion, sports, media and culture.
Since 2013 Chris also serves as non-executive director for the Equality and Human Rights Commission; improving the equality and human rights legislative framework in the UK remains an important priority. Chris is supporter and patron of several other charities including Duke of Edinburgh Awards, the Queens Diamond Jubilee Trust and Guide Dogs.
Lady Victoria Leatham
Lady Victoria Leatham was Honorary Colonel of 158 Royal Anglian TA from 1996 until 2003. She managed her family home, Burghley House, home of the International Burghley Horse Trials, until this year when she retired. She is a member of the Court of Drapers Company and one of the experts on The Antiques Road Show. She is a keen supporter of the Armed Forces.
Monty is a high profile figure in the worlds of diving and adventure. This ex Royal Marines Officer has led numerous expeditions and projects throughout the world, and is a marine biologist, travel writer, television presenter and public speaker of note. Monty’s work, undertaking all manner of unusual projects, has taken him around the world to a huge variety of environments.
Ken served in the British Army for 25 years. He started as a tank driver but after being selected for Sandhurst he spent most of his career as an officer with the Queens Regiment and the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. Life was never dull and he saw numerous tours of duty in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, (while on secondment to the Royal Marines) and eventually became an SAS Troop and Squadron Commander where as he puts it 'he got sent away to some very unsafe places and couldn't tell anybody anything about it'! Ken's experiences in the Army led him to other careers in television, public speaking and leadership training. He recently made a moving and much acclaimed documentary on BBC1 that highlighted the plight of homeless servicemen and women. His series Beyond Boundaries on BBC2 has done a lot to change perceptions about disability and he is currently working on a new series to be filmed this year that will tell the story of injured soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and their battle back to fitness. In what spare time he has Ken is mad about expeditions, climbing and rugby and lives in Bristol. Ken is passionate about the work of Help for Heroes and is planning his own challenge to raise money and awareness.
Anneka has worked with the forces for over 20 years. Memorable (to her anyway) projects include becoming an Honorary Sapper in the Royal Engineers and getting stuck half way down a death slide; landing a helicopter on top of a submarine during "Treasure Hunt", and presenting "Combat" for ITV, where regiments competed in gruelling physical challenges. The Forces have helped her on numerous "Challenge Anneka" missions and she is delighted to be involved with Help for Heroes.