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Un-BEE-lievable!

Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House is buzzing to be home to a hive of bees which will be looked after by residents as part of their recovery journey. Three colonies were placed in Tedworth House horticultural area on Friday.

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With the diverse countryside fauna and trees surrounding Tedworth House and to compliment the Horticultural Therapy programme that is being developed as part of the Rolling Recovery Programme (RRP), beekeeping is thought be an appropriate, important and complementary activity. 

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Giles Woodhouse, Head of Recovery South, said: “The aim is to introduce bees to the Tedworth House garden with the purpose of familiarising the residents, Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters with the rudiments of beekeeping as part of the Horticultural Therapy programme/Life Skills Course.

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“There are clear documented benefits to beekeeping which will be of huge value to the wounded, injured and sick `blokes` as they embark on their recovery journey at Tedworth House. As a beekeeper you continually discover new things about nature, bees, and their remarkable social behaviour therefore, as well as a recovery activity, this will be of great interest to everybody involved.

“Working with bees is so calming and we hope it proves to be a good stress-reliever for our residents.”

Give yourselves a Hive Five Team Tedworth!

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Phoenix House wheelchair rugby match

The competitive spirit was high when a team of veterans and serving military personnel took on professional rugby players in a game of wheelchair rugby.

Members of Darlington Mowden Park Rugby Club’s 1st XV team visited Help for Heroes Phoenix House Recovery Centre for a tour before taking part in the challenge.

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The round-robin tournament saw the players from DMP split into three teams to play three games of 14 minutes. While the Phoenix House team put up a good fight, they were narrowly beaten by DMP’s team B to come in second place.

Jake Henry, winger for Mowden Park, said he found using the wheelchair hard work on his arms.

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He said: “It’s really demanding physically, especially on your upper arms. It’s an honour to play among people who have served their country and paid a great price for us.”

Jake, who comes from a military background himself, said he was very impressed by the work being done at Phoenix House.

He said: “It’s phenomenal and the facilities are second to none. Hopefully we will have more days like this where we can get involved too.”

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Veteran Seveci Navelinikoro served 12 years with 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment with tours of Iraq, Afghanistan, Belize, the Falklands, Northern Ireland and Kenya.

The 36-year-old from Catterick was injured after the vehicle he was travelling in was blown up on November 19 2012.

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Before his injuries, he used to play a lot of rugby and said it’s great to be able to now play wheelchair rugby.

“This brings me back to the sport. It’s a great work out,” he said. “It’s very challenging as it’s hard to control the ball at the same time as the wheelchair.

Hilary Conway, Supported Activities Coordinator for Help for Heroes, said the event could become an annual fixture.

She said: “Most, if not all, of the participants, especially from DMP, had never played wheelchair rugby before so it was an opportunity for them to try a new, if somewhat familiar, sport on an even playing field with wounded Serving military personnel and veterans.”

Anyone who served in the Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines or Royal Air Force who needs the support of Help for Heroes Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick can self-refer by calling 01748 834148.

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Summerfest at Tedworth House

The Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters community enjoyed a Summer Festival at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House on Friday.

Musicians also turned out to entertain the 300 wounded, injured and sick heroes who came to the event. They provided entertainment for listening residents, staff and members of the Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters. Despite heavy rainfall, spirits were not dampened and the festival was deemed a huge success.

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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, and the Band of Sisters provides lifelong support to their loved ones.

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“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,” said Head of Recovery South, Giles Woodhouse.

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“Family support is something we care passionately about at Help for Heroes and our Summerfest allows the WIS community to enjoy a fun day out with their loved ones. We appreciate that spending time as a family unit is often difficult to achieve, which is why these events are so important.

“Our Summer Fete and Tedfest last year was hugely successful but, despite the rain, I think we managed to even surpass that this year. There was a great sense of community throughout the day and the atmosphere felt really special. I’d like to thanks Marland Music Management, our BoB/BoS team and the hard work of our amazing volunteers for allowing this amazing event to happen.”

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The Band of Brothers and their families arrived at 2.00pm forCream Teas and to enjoy other activities including a ride on a Steam Train, Archery, a visit to the Charity Stalls and Kids Corner - many staying all afternoon to relax and soak up the atmosphere of a fun-filled event at the Wiltshire-based Recovery Centre. The evening saw the wonderful Blue Apple team put on a delicious Hog Roast whilst everybody enjoyed listening to the music entertainment.

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Artists who performed were; Lauree Couchman, Terry Couchman, Bryan Folklaw aka Jambalaya, Laura Jayne Burt, Barny Holmes (De’Vide), Mike & Grizz (Unit 10 Studios) and Richie Burnett aka ARBY.

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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.

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Veterans battle for glory at Phoenix Games

Competition was rife at Phoenix House Recovery Centre last week as teams from across the country battled it out in the Help for Heroes inter-Centre games.

The Phoenix Games was held at the Catterick-based Centre for the third year.

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Team South, made up of a mixture of participants from Tedworth House in Tidworth and Chavasse VC House in Colchester, managed to take the trophy from Phoenix House for the first time in the tournament’s history.

The teams, made up of wounded, injured and sick servicemen, women and veterans, were put through their paces in a variety of events, including a push-to-the-limits gym challenge, seated volleyball, quiz, archery and swimming gala.

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The competition really came to a head with a day spent at Ellerton Lake, where the teams had to build a raft to compete in a water treasure hunt.

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Mo Usman, Head of Recovery North, said it was a close run competition between the teams.

He said:  “A massive congratulations to the combined Tedworth House and Chavasse VC Team for powering through to a winning position – very well deserved.

“The event has brought to the forefront the importance of the power and positivity of participation in sporting activities.  Now we need to prepare for the Winter Games at Tedworth and bring the trophy back to Catterick!”

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Among the participants was Anna Pollock, 33, who lives in Catterick. 

She suffered a bleed on her spine resulting in nerve damage, which left her relying heavily on the use of a wheelchair.

Concentrating on sport has helped Anna, an RAF veteran, stay positive.

“It definitely gives me confidence and makes you feel strong and happy,” she said.

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Heroes create World War 1 animation

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Three wounded, injured and sick veterans created their own stop-motion animation film at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, Chavasse VC House, as part of a wider project led and produced by The Bridge for Heroes in association with Riarmato Productions.

Bridge for Heroes is a contact centre based in Norfolk for military personnel, veterans and their families and was facing threat of closure in 2014. Help for Heroes was able to provide the charity with a grant of £27,392 to keep the centre running. Since then The Bridge for Heroes has embarked on an exciting project, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, to produce a series of 12 stop-motion animation films based on World War I. The project is called ‘The Great Story’ and will feature 12 stop-motion animations (2-3 minutes each) made by 12 groups of people. These animations are based on important and defining events of World War I.

The three veterans were working on the 10th animation based around animals on the front line. Veterans Steven Vaughan, Colin Branch and Dave McCafferty who had never met each other before, discussed ideas and story line development and very soon came up with a plot focussing on the theme that animals were heroes too. Following this they let their creative juices flow by drawing their scenes and characters before learning how to use the stop-motion equipment and manipulated the drawings to create their moving animation.

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Among the group was Dave McCafferty, from Felixstowe, Suffolk. Dave was medically discharged in 2007 after suffering degenerative injuries to his knees and lower back, and has only recently begun using the Recovery Centre after finding out about it from his wife who was looking for support and friendship for Dave now she is working full time. He was persuaded to give the animation project a go by staff at the Centre and surprised himself with what he achieved. Dave said:

“Thank you for talking me into attending the WW1 animation event. I really enjoyed it, who would have thought I had an imagination and was able to vocalise it.”

The premier of ‘The Great Story’ will take place in Kings Lynn in September where the veterans will be able to see the results of their hard work. 

If you have been wounded, injured or sick as a result of military service then Help for Heroes could support you. Visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support to find out more.