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Paralympian and Help for Heroes beneficiary to compete in Channel 4's The Jump

Help for Heroes beneficiary and three-times silver medal winner at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Jon-Allan Butterworth, 28, is competing in the second series of Channel 4’s celebrity show ‘The Jump’.

Coming to Channel 4 in early February, viewers will see track cyclist Butterworth, who lives in Manchester, take on some of the most challenging winter sports, using his experiences in the RAF and as an athlete to ensure he is a leading contender to be crowned champion of ‘The Jump’ 2015.  

It was through the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery programme that Jon-Allan’s cycling talents were first spotted. Jon-Allan was severely injured while serving with the RAF as a weapons technician in Iraq in August 2007. He was involved in a rocket attack on Basra Air station and lost his left arm above the elbow as a result.

Less than 10 months after his injury, Jon-Allan took part in the Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Bike Ride, cycling 350 miles around the battlefields of Northern France. Help for Heroes later paid for him to attend a military Paralympic sports camp in San Diego in August 2008 where the British Cycling team’s interest in his talent was cemented.

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Jon-Allan is now a leading British talent in sprint and endurance track cycling. As well as winning silver in the team sprint, 1km time trial and 4km individual pursuit at London’s 2012 Paralympic Games, Butterworth set a new world record in 2013 in the 200m time trial in his classification, C5.

Jon-Allan said: “I wanted to try all these amazing winter sports, to be the first above elbow amputee to do bobsleigh and skeleton and to inspire other injured veterans out there. My aim is also to use the show to get fit after an operation that I had in September to enable me to return to cycling with a base level of fitness and a good weight to work with.”

For the duration of the programme Butterworth will live and train with the 15 other celebrities taking part, including dancer Louie Spence, Made in Chelsea’s Louise Thompson and England Cricketer Phil Tufnell.  

Louise Watson, Sports Recovery Manager at Help for Heroes who also spent time with Jon-Allan in Austria, training him in the skeleton & bobsleigh events, said: “It’s great to see Jon-Allan pushing his limits and giving something new a go. From getting on a bike in 2008 for the first Help for Heroes bike ride, to winning three silver medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Jon-Allan demonstrates that there is definitely life beyond injury. Since 2008, Help for heroes has supported veterans to try something new and we’d encourage anyone else in the same position to get in touch.”

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How Help for Heroes and Winston's Wish cared for the Horton family

Martyn Horton of 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) was killed in 2010 at the age of 34 in a road traffic accident whilst serving in Afghanistan. He left behind a son, Ethan, who was 9 at the time and his estranged wife Jane.

Martyn Horton

Jane recalls the day she heard the devastating news: “I got a knock on the door from Martyn’s sister at 5am. I knew straight away it must be bad news. I remember waiting for Ethan to wake up to tell him the news.”

She describes the special relationship that they had: “He and his dad were thick as thieves. They both loved football and motocross and had lads’ holidays”

Jane made sure that Ethan was involved in every aspect of Martyn’s tragic homecoming – he led the procession at his dad’s military funeral, placing a toy baby monkey and some letters in his dad’s coffin at the burial.

It wasn’t until a year after Martyn’s death that they realised they needed help. “I felt we were coping well but grief can become bottled up inside. The very act of getting on with day to day life doesn’t leave you much time to reflect or grieve properly” explains Jane.

Jane rang the Helpline of Winston’s Wish, the UK’s leading childhood bereavement charity. Following visits to their home offering practical help and advice, the family were invited to a residential weekend in March 2012, funded by Help for Heroes.

During the weekend, a number of Forces families came together to remember their loved ones. Jane spent time with a parents’ group, receiving advice on how best to support Ethan through his grief, while Ethan and the other children took part in practical and creative activities to encourage teamwork and to build confidence and self-esteem. In both groups parents and children alike were able to make their voices heard and emotions felt about being bereaved in these very specific circumstances.

Jane felt nervous about becoming upset during the weekend, but it proved to be a turning point for both of them. Jane commented: “It was like a huge weight of emotion had been released. I don’t feel so alone. I am proud of being able to open up and show emotion”.

Ethan And Jane Horton , Supported By Help For Heroes And Winston 's Wish

The two of them worked together on creating a memory book for Martyn, which included a letter of condolence from the Prime Minister.

The family were also the focus of a feature piece in The Sun newspaper, highlighting the work of Help For Heroes and Winston’s Wish through describing their experiences. In telling their story, they have acted bravely as ambassadors for both charities.

Ethan has also been actively involved in fundraising for Help for Heroes through a football match and a sponsored run.

“Grief and bereavement are not something that go away and losing Martyn is something we both think about every day,” said Jane. “But thanks to all the help and support we received, we can look forward rather than back.”

Read more about how Help for Heroes and Winston's Wish are working together here

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Upping the Andes

4 Guys, Archie Innes, Tom Lawson, Toby MacKean and Guthrie Fenton, are aiming to ride, unsupported, the entire legnth of South America. This epic challenge will see them cover an amazing 8000 miles and ride through 6 different countries, with an aim to raise an amazing £80,000. The countries they will visit on route include Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Equador and Columbia.

The 4 of them set off on 1st January 2015 from Ushiaia and are heading north to their finish line at Faro Punta Gakllinas in Columbia, aiming to be there 5 months later, on 15th June 2015.

Upping The Andes

After setting off, Tom Lawson said "we are glad to be finally on the road, and after months of preparations are ready for this immesnse psychological and physical challenge."

If you want to make a valuable contribution, please donate here.

Unfortunately, due to inconsistent WiFi where the adventurers are right now, updates on this epic journey may be few and far between. We'll do our best to keep you as up to date as possible.

Visit the Upping the Andes website to track Archie, Tom, Toby and Guthrie on their amazing adventure.

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Doing it for Heroes

Three military staff, Chief Petty Officers Andy “Gibbo” Gibbs & Tyrone “Ty” Stock (both in the Royal Navy), and Colour Sergeant Royal Marines Andy “Crofty” Crofts, are walking from Twickenham to Cardiff carrying the Gilbert match ball for the Wales v. England RBS 6 Nations fixture on the 6 February 2015. Over the past 6 years the guys at Doing it for Heroes have raised just over £326,000 for Help for Heroes. They will be assisted by James “JC” Cameron-Wood, a veteran with 29 years Royal Navy service who is now a working as the door keeper at the House of Lords, and Georgina Crumpton who works in Canary Wharf. 

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Gibbo and JC are pictured with Wales wing Alex Cuthbert who presented them with the Gilbert ball at the Millennium Stadium as the Welsh team conducted a final training session before the autumn international against New Zealand.

Cuthbert said: “The Welsh Rugby Union are proud to once again be supporting Help for Heroes and Gibbo, Ty, Crofty & JC on the walk from London to Cardiff in 2015 for the RBS 6 Nations fixture. We wish them luck and hope they look after the ball for us”

Gibbo and Crofty are currently based at HMS Excellent working for Fleet Battle Staff and Ty is based at RNR Scotia in Scotland.

The route will be broken down into 8 daily parts covering the 189 miles. Starting from the RBS HQ in the City of London and heading to Heathrow on the 28th January, before following the route: Reading, Hungerford, Cricklade, Gloucester, Whitchurch and Newport. The final leg into Cardiff will see the team arrive at the stadium at 11:00 when Wales run out for the Captains Run on the 5th February.

This event would not have been possible without the kind and generous support from our event sponsor HEINEKEN, the UK's leading brewer and cider maker, our vehicle sponsor Essex Ford, and our liability insurer Towergate Wilson.

HEINEKEN’s Tim Galligan said: “We are immensely proud of our long-standing links with British servicemen and women and our support for rugby union. We are therefore delighted to bring these interests together by sponsoring a walk from the RBS HQ in the City of London to the home of Welsh rugby which will raise much-needed funds for Help for Heroes."

Essex Ford are honoured to be a long-standing sponsor of the Doing it For Heroes team. For us, working with Andy Gibbs and his team has provided us a wonderful opportunity to support a very worthwhile and deserving cause whilst enjoying all the exposure and coverage the team attracts through their relentless fundraising activities.

We continually go the extra mile to help support H4H fundraising activities because we are driven by a debt of gratitude that we owe all the British Service men and women who selflessly protect us from the challenges thrown down by today’s world. We think it’s important, therefore, that we demonstrate our thanks by supporting those whose lives are compromised or affected by this selfless act.

Help for Heroes commented: “H4H is all about ‘doing your bit’ and the effort and commitment of Gibbo, and the DIFH team the last few years has been outstanding. Their latest challenge is a brilliant example of people taking on a challenge, rallying support and accomplishing something extraordinary while they raise money for a wonderful cause. We are incredibly grateful for their support and know this event will be as successful as all those previous endeavours.”

Follow our progress:

Twitter @TEAMDIFH or Facebook
Our blog site can be viewed at
Donating is easy – just visit
For more information Gibbo can be contacted at

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Bryn's blog January: out with the old, in with the new (you)

Happy New Year! 

I’m back at work, it’s cold, grey, wet and I detect the beginnings of the dreaded Manflu creeping up on me. I’m already annoyed by every paper or magazine telling me to start a new health regime, 'New Year, New Me' indeed. Bah Humbug! 

Pah! I’m a free person and I’ll do what I want, you can’t order me to be ‘new’! I refuse to have a completely dry January (it’s already too late for that) and I didn’t get a juice extractor in my stocking so didn’t have green goo for breakfast. I haven’t joined the gym (again) nor have I given up chocolate or am determined to eat only tofu. I have not detoxed; I will choose whether I want to eat pasta or bread thanks. I doubt I’ll read the complete work of Shakespeare or even give up watching box sets in 2015. I refuse to be told how to behave. Hurrah!

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But, as a free willed person and without being told what to do, I am going to take some positive steps. I have written a short and achievable list of things I’d like to do this year, things that will make me feel good about myself and give me a sense of achievement. Not because I’m told to but because I want to. 

Last year, Emma and I set out to do a long bike ride down the length of France, a ride that terrified us but we did it nonetheless. It gave us a wonderful sense of achievement and it raised money for the ‘blokes’. Neither of us used to be cyclists and, in 2007, when I bought a bike I found five miles to be incredibly challenging. However, now I know I can ride across France and up blooming big hillsides; I’ve done something I never thought I’d be able to do and it feels good. This year we will be joining around 2000 other cyclists – some ‘Lycra Legends’, some very much ‘Puffing Pedlars’– on the Hero Ride and when we all finish (which we will) we will have raised a huge amount of money and everyone will feel brilliant. There will be a collective discovery that we can do things we never thought possible; and that feels very good indeed.

You don’t have to jump on a bike, climb a mountain or run in big circles to feel a real sense of achievement, that’s not the point. You just have to do something that makes your heart beat faster, something that challenges you.  For some, it might be laying on a pub quiz and hoping people turn up that gets the heartrate going. Or, you could organise a Non Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing event or become the next Mary Berry while Baking for Heroes; whatever gets you saying, ‘I wonder if I could do that? It would be amazing if I could.’

Oh, and don’t say 'I can’t'. I saw Malcolm a couple of weeks ago; he is approaching 70. I think he’s got some bionic knees or hips and while he is no Mark Cavendish he did complete the Big Battlefield Bike Ride last year in memory of his wife Davina. Now he is planning his next bike ride – from Salisbury to Istanbul!

Tn _Hero Bear Getting Fit

So, if you’re ready to say ‘I can’ and need some inspiration just have a look at our website for some ideas and examples of the extraordinary things people have done to raise money for the ‘blokes’. All are ordinary people but each is doing extraordinary things, big and small, to do their bit.

Finally, without trying to tell you what to do, might I suggest that you throw off the duvet and get going! Like it or not, 2015 is here, it is a New Year and I don’t know of a better time to start doing something, anything to make a difference to your life, and the lives of others. Not because I or anyone else tells you to, but because you want to and if you do, you’ll feel better!

Onwards and Upwards!

Bryn Parry Signature

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