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London Welsh pay a visit to Tedworth House Recovery Centre

Members of the London Welsh squad paid a visit to Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House on Monday to see first-hand the outstanding work being done by the charity.

Help for Heroes are the official charity partner for London Welsh and H4H will be fundraising on Sunday for the Exiles’Aviva Premiership clash with Bath Rugby at the Kassam Stadium.

On Monday, London Welsh Chief Executive Officer Mike Stevens, Olly Barkley, Nick Scott, Taione Vea, Tim Molenaar, Josh McNally and Ricky Reeves first visited the ‘Tin Hut’ to see where Help for Heroes all began in October 2007.


The players were given an insight into some of the amazing people H4H has helped in that time, before meeting and posing for photos with some of the volunteers.

At Tedworth House they met H4H ambassador Simon Harmer, who was just one month into his tour, serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps in Afghanistan, when he lost both his legs after stepping on an IED in October 2009.

The players were given a guided tour of the outstanding facilities at Tedworth House and learnt about how the recovery Centre helps the wounded, injured and sick community. The tour culminated in a visit to the Phoenix Centre where the players enjoyed a game of Sitting Volleyball with the residents.

The London Welsh boys were joined by Ben Steele and Natalie Robinson who were both part of the Invictus Games Wheelchair Rugby gold medal team.


London Welsh player Ricky Reeves, a serving member of the Armed Forces, said: “I really enjoying seeing where and how Help for Heroes all started. Being a serving soldier myself I’m very grateful for what they’re doing, it is fantastic.

“It’s nice to see they’re not alone and there are people there to help them get through it.”

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Joanna Lumley kicks off Barrel of Laughs challenge

Comic actress Joanna Lumley this morning launched Bell’s Barrel of Laughs, which will see her and five fellow funnymen roll a whisky barrel 517 miles from Perthshire in Scotland to the H4H Recovery Centre, Tedworth House in Wiltshire to raise money for Help For Heroes.


Joanna was joined by comedian Fred MacAulay, Veterans and staff from the distillery and said: "I feel so proud to have been chosen to start the great Barrel of Laughs journey for Help for Heroes.

"Full marks to Bell's for such a generous and brilliant idea and all praise to everyone concerned with Help for Heroes. We shall never forget the duty of care we owe to those who have been damaged in conflict for our sakes and the sakes of our country.

"If this were Patsy speaking, she would say 'Cheers, sweeties'."

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The relay began today at the Blair Athol Distillery and will end in nine days’ time on March 31.

Five of the comics, including Fred MacAulay, Mark Dolan and Rufus Hound, are putting on FIVE FREE STAND-UP GIGS, teaming up with another H4H partner, Marston's pubs along the route where audience members will be invited to donate. Why not go along and show your support - click here for details.

Volunteers with collection buckets will be flanking the stars as they trek through the streets with the barrel. You can pledge your support by texting the word Bells to donate number 70900. 

The barrel team is being led by fitness fanatic Rob Edmond – most famous for his stint as personal trainer on ITV’s The Biggest Loser – who is rolling it in between the stars and veterans taking part. The challenge will see the group on the move between 7am and 7pm each day.

Rob said: “It’s going to be a physical and mental challenge rolling the barrel 517 miles across length of the country but we’re all determined to make it happen and I’m sure the banter will keep us all smiling right until the finish line.”

Go along to cheer the team and follow their progress each day: 

23 March Stage 1:  Blair Athol Distillery, Pitlochry to Edinburgh Castle

24 March Stage 2: Edinburgh to Coldstream

25 March Stage 3: Coldstream to Newcastle

26 March Stage 4: Newcastle to Catterick

27 March Stage 5: Catterick to Leeds

28 March Stage 6: Leeds to Manchester

29 March Stage 7: Manchester to Birmingham

30 March Stage 8: Birmingham to Brize Norton

31 March Stage 9: Brize Norton to Tedworth House

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Furry friends help our heroes

Heroes and loved ones at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, Chavasse VC House, were greeted with a few sloppy kisses and twitchy noses last week as they were introduced to four very special animals used as part of animal therapy sessions.


Arctica the cat, Pickles the mini Daschund, Hippo the hairless guinea pig and Peter the one eared rabbit provided endless cuddles and entertainment to our wounded, injured and sick residents and their families as well as enlightening others on their unique and individual appearances. The animals were supplied by Essex based charity Alamanda Animal Therapy and are often used in hospitals to support children and adults with special needs.

It was the animals’ first visit to the Centre but proved such a hit that they will be returning by popular demand.

Georgie Friend, Health and Physical Wellbeing Advisor at Chavasse VC House explained why animal therapy can work well for some people including recovering personnel and veterans: 

“Animal therapy is particularly effective in helping a person’s social, emotional or cognitive functioning. It can also support someone’s physical abilities through the use of having to groom the animal and grip a brush, as well as the health benefits of taking it out for walks. It was great to be able to introduce this type of therapy to the Colchester Recovery Centre and show how, with the right animal, they can support recovery. They certainly brought a lot of smiles to everyone’s faces!”



Garden Photographers develop their skills at RHS Hyde Hall


The Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, Chavasse VC House, took a group of wounded, injured and sick veterans and loved ones on a trip to the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Hyde Hall as part of its monthly Garden Photography workshop. The spectacular gardens in Chelmsford, Essex provided the perfect setting for the budding photographers who have been learning specialist techniques from Garden World Images a world-renowned supplier of quality horticultural/botanical rights-managed images.

The group are now busily selecting their favourite images which will be put on display at the RHS visitor centre in May for people to enjoy as well as to understand more about individual recovery journeys. 

Garden Photography has proved to be a popular activity at the Colchester Recovery Centre ever since garden designer Matt Keightley’s 2014 award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden Hope on the Horizon was planted there. Since then serving personnel, veterans and loved ones of all ages have been able to use the private space to meditate, relax and, as our photographers have proved, learn new skills. 


Fiona Watt, a Help for Heroes Band of Sister member and a regular on the workshop explains why: 

“The Heroes Garden provides so many angles, depth and inspiration that it really lends itself to photography sessions. With each season there are new plants to capture and I feel more relaxed after spending a few hours immersed in the garden. It was great to be able to take what we have been learning in the Heroes Garden and expand that to a bigger playing field at RHS Hyde Hall.”

 If you are a wounded, injured or sick service personnel, veteran or a loved one of a wounded hero then Help for Heroes can support you. To find out how, please contact the Colchester Recovery Centre on 01206 814886.

Green-fingered Heroes at Tedworth House

Keen gardeners amongst our wounded, injured and sick community have begun working towards a certificate in Practical Horticulture at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House.

Help for Heroes, through its partnership with City & Guilds, have launched a course which will give WIS the skills and knowledge to successfully grow their own vegetables from sowing seeds through to harvesting them.

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Tedworth House has a thriving fruit and vegetable garden complete with a greenhouse and raised beds. Six wounded heroes, serving and veterans, will learn skills such as planting out, preparing ground, pruning, using a mower, maintaining turf or constructing a path.

The course will continue for a further six days in May and July. We hope our wounded heroes reap the rewards of their hard efforts!

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