Joe Quinn's Land's End to John O'Groats Challenge

Joe _QuinnOn the 27th August 2014, Joe Quinn will be setting out from Land's End to cycle nearly 1000 miles to John O'Groats. Joe is a retired 69 years young pensioner who currently lives in Strathspey in the Highlands of Scotland. He joined the Kintail Mountain Rescue Team in 1982 and eventually became a Team Leader for a number of years. At this time, Joe was also a member of the Ratagan Volunteer Fire life was pretty hectic! 

Originally, Joe had not planned to complete this challenge as a charity fundraiser, but then he got to thinking and decided that someone should benefit from his efforts, and that someone was Help for Heroes (H4H). Many have asked him, why H4H? Although he worked closely with the Royal Navy, it really wasn't this connection that made him think of the Charity. Rather, it was someone he worked with who had been engaged in ordnance disposal with the Army in various theatres of conflict and who had done so much to help protect both his comrades and the public whilst putting his own life on the line. In a nutshell, this is why he chose H4H.

If you would like to support Joe on his amazing challenge please visit his online giving page

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Wiltshire Musicians turn out for Tedfest!

Musicians from across Wiltshire turned out to entertain the wounded, injured and sick at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House this weekend.

Ten acts performed at the inaugural music festival at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre on Saturday, providing entertainment for listening residents, staff and members of the Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters.

Hero Bear Dances With Visiting Musicians

Open to both male and female members, the Band of Brothers provides life-long support to those with a career limiting/ending injury or illness attributable to service since 2001, and the Band of Sisters provides lifelong support to their loved ones. “Events such as these allow our wounded, injured and sick to come together and have the opportunity to socialise with others in similar situations and facing similar challenges”, commented Centre Manager, Giles Woodhouse; “and following a hugely successful Summer Fete a few weeks ago, we are delighted, thanks to Marland Music Management and the hard work of a number of amazing volunteers to be holding the first ever ‘Tedfest’ this weekend.”

Music fans and picnic aficionados arrived from 2pm with picnic blankets and packed evening meals in hand - many staying all afternoon to relax and soak up the atmosphere of a fun-filled event at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Wiltshire.

Acoustic Guitar and Vocals Musician James Duggan from Calne in Wiltshire said,“It is always great to perform but to have the opportunity to perform here in this setting, and for all these amazing people is truly awesome! I have performed at Tedworth House before and am thrilled to be here today to support these amazing guys and girls”.

   James Duggan   High Fives All Round!

Other artists from Calne included acts 13 year old Mason O’Brien and Benji Clements with his band along with Taran Stormes Martino from Bradford-on-Avon; Jet Luckhurst from Trowbridge; Aidan Moore, Jules Brogan and Jamie R Hawkins from Swindon; and Rob Bowden, David Waddington and Barney Goodall who are all based in and around the Devizes area.

Contact the Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters team on 01980 844280 to find out more about joining if you or someone you know would benefit from this lifetime support network run by Help for Heroes.

A very British challenge

A group of staff and veterans from Help for Heroes Phoenix House Recovery Centre and The Beacon in Catterick Garrison made a tough challenge even harder by vowing to complete the Pennine Way in just 14 days.

The National Trail is a 268 mile walking route from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. Most walkers allow between 16 to 19 days to walk the Pennine Way. Our team averaged 18 miles walking per day.

The group, from as far as Salisbury, Manchester and Catterick, quickly gelled together to support each other for the challenge.

Led by staff from Phoenix House, the walk began with a classic climb called Jacob’s Ladder at the head of the Edale Valley.

“That took everybody’s breath away,” said Mark Airey, the Centre’s strength and conditioning coordinator. “The first person got the team’s first blister there too.”

Soon Mark found he was holding a regular blister clinic each morning to repair sore feet and get them fit for another day’s walking.

After the first day, the team stopped for a well-deserved dinner at the Top Brink Inn between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.

Double Cumberland

“We all had the Double Cumberland. It was huge and everyone struggled to finish it but it was very worthwhile,” said Mark.

Other highlights on the walk including trekking across the infamous Saddleworth Moor with high winds and climbing up the spiral staircase inside the Stoodley Pike Monument – although the weather was so dreary the team couldn’t see much of the countryside around them.

Big Sky Country

The group was battered by all sorts of weather from pouring rain to even a hail storm but when the sun did come out, it lifted the spirits and showed the scenery of the Pennine Way at its most spectacular.

“When we reached Upper Teesdale, we found a real gem. There was an incredible waterfall that wasn’t even named on the map.  It was one of those unexpected treats,” Mark said.

Rapid Progress

But when the team walked across the highest point of the Pennines at Crossfell, the weather was hideous with 40mph winds.

“The fog came in and people were beginning to shiver  so we made the decision to get off asap and make for a mountain refuge hut called Greg’s Hut,” Mark said.

It gave the team a much-needed reprieve, allowing them to eat their lunch, where upon the sun came out.

Despite a variety of injuries from bad blisters to knee problems, everyone kept going and was delighted on day 14 when they saw a sign saying ‘Kirk Yetholm – 4 miles’.

“When we got to Kirk Yetholm there was just a sign saying Pennine Way but then, as if by magic, one of the team pulled out a bottle of champagne and gave a short speech,” said Mark.


The whole team felt a great sense of accomplishment at completing the challenge, Mark said.

He said: “It was very emotional and for some, it was the biggest achievement of their life. It raised their feeling of self-worth that they can achieve this, despite what they have been through.”

Anyone who served in the Army, Navy or Royal Air Force who needs the help of Phoenix House Recovery Centre can self-refer by calling 01748 834148.

Round the World in an Airfix Kit

At the start of 2013 Jon Plumb sent a new Airfix kit to his friend Stu Bradley in France, thereby starting the money raising project now known as “Round the World in an Airfix Kit.”

The plan was to circulate the Airfix kit around an international group of 15 modellers of varying abilities, each to complete their own part of the build and pack the kit ready to forward on to the next modeller. Jon chose the 1:48 English Electric Lightning because it was the next model he planned to make from within his existing collection. It was an ideal choice as, based on the parts included it offered an even spread of parts for each user.

This well-travelled Airfix kit has met modellers in the UK, France, Germany, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Spain, Italy, Australia, California, Illinois and Northern Ireland. “Initially we felt there was a risk of people letting the team down; only two of the team knew each other previously but regular communication helped to build a relationship and trust. Surprisingly there have been no breakages. Bryan Finch in California had to start putting the wings on so he took responsibility for the creation of a lightweight transit case. When Erica Rose sent it from Illinois to Northern Ireland, the HMRC charged us £115 import duty to release it; thankfully Chris Spalding of the Modellers’ Nook Model Shop came to the rescue!”

Jonny Plumb James May

James May completed the final pieces on 7 August 2014. James is a long standing fan of Airfix having begun modelling kits as a child and was delighted to help this worthy cause by donating his time and additional publicity. He patiently applied tiny parts under the watchful gaze of the team.

James said “I’ve been involved in the Help for Heroes cause before, they do some excellent work and I was delighted to be able to help Jonny raise money for them. I think Airfix is an important part of childhood and it’s interesting to see it develop into something more mature, when I was young it was the birthday present for all my friends, teaching us all patience! With Airfix you can have your own aviation museum on your table top.”

“The brief to the team was to treat the kit as their own using their skill and materials. The only rules were... post lots of pictures, make sure the build is done to represent XR770. If they wanted to use aftermarket and additional bits or super detailing they could. The final rule was to enjoy the build. This was not supposed to be the best ever lightning Airfix model, but the team has produced a world class model!”

Jon Plumb who has been the driving force behind the project is proud to announce that the idea has already raised over a thousand pounds for Help for Heroes. The final sum will be announced after the completed model, with decorative plinth, is presented as a raffle prize at Scale Model World Exhibition in Telford.

“I also have a remarkable admin team, of which Stu Bradley, Alan Hooker and Mark Davey. Over the project we’ve become a real team, really supportive of the aims of the project.” said Jonny, “We chose Help for Heroes as it supports Royal Navy, Army and Royal Airforce Serving personnel and veterans and our project aims, by its very nature, to be inclusive of all.

"We raised additional money by getting companies to donate modelling kits and supplies, and selling raffle tickets and anyone who would like to get involved can donate via our charity giving page.”

 The Whole Team

Heroes transform re-opened Sandham Memorial Chapel Garden

Sandham Memorial Chapel in Burghclere, Hampshire - the only National Trust building dedicated to the Great War - was last week re-opened alongside the many other centenary reflections and remembrance activities taking place across the world.

Residents from Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House took part in the one year conservation project to give the garden at the Grade 1 listed chapel a new lease of life, transforming it with new paths, fruit trees and a vegetable patch.

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Built to honour the 'forgotten dead' of the First World War, who were not remembered on any official memorials, the building houses a series of large-scale murals, by the acclaimed war artist Sir Stanley Spencer.

Tedworth House residents - some more green fingered than others, but all equally keen to get involved, found that the experience of working around the chapel connected them with the soldiers of WW1 in the reflective and peaceful environment of the garden.

Residents will continue to help maintain the garden now that it has been re-opened, as part of the Help for Heroes rolling recovery programme offered at the Recovery Centre.

Watch ITV Meridian’s report on the re-opening to see the fruits of their labour, or better still – go and see it for yourself!