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Lynsey and Rabbie H4H Munro Challenge

Lynsey Fitzpatrick and her labrador, Rabbie, have challenged themselves to climb all 282 of Scotland’s Munros (mountains over 3000 feet). They started their challenge in June 2012 and have targeted to have climbed all 282 mountains by Christmas 2014. Due to Lynsey’s work commitments and the sheer number of Munros, to keep to their deadline has meant that she and Rabbie have been out climbing in the mountains every weekend and during all Lynsey’s work annual leave; through all seasons and through all weather conditions.

Lynsey is a soldier’s wife; her husband has been deployed both to Iraq and Afghanistan. On a deployment abroad he was injured and flown back to be treated at QEH Birmingham. He has recovered now but during his period at QEH, Lynsey spent time with seriously injured soldiers and their families, and found this to be a very emotional time. It made Lynsey realise that although she felt she had been through quite a number of difficult years with her husband being deployed, what they had endured was very little to what lay ahead for these soldiers and their families. Lynsey wanted to undertake her own challenge to raise awareness for Help for Heroes.

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Before Lynsey and Rabbie started this challenge, Lynsey had little knowledge of the mountains, but to build up the correct experience she planned the easier and more accessible Munros first. This allowed her to gain confidence and skills in navigation, survival and climbing to help them to progress to conquer the more remote and difficult Munros. Rabbie has also gained his own skills along the way, he likes to lead and to be the one to find the route ahead, and he has learned to sniff out and show me other hikers’ tracks on overgrown mountain sides to allow us a safer climb.

The Munros are located all over Scotland from Ben Hope in the far north to Ben Lomond in the South, and to reach them has not always been along the best of roads.  Lynsey and Rabbie have been fortunate to receive the support of “John Clark Tayside BMW” Dealership in Dundee who have been kind enough to provide them with an X3 4x4 vehicle to travel to the Munros safely, and in luxury too!

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Lynsey and Rabbie have been on an amazing journey over the last few years; it has not always been easy and they have endured some real arduous weather conditions. To keep them going, Lynsey and Rabbie have received endless support from family and friends and they have gained so many new friends along the way. Memorable moments are extensive, but if Lynsey had to pick the most memorable experience of all there is one range of mountains that she will never forget. In August this year Lynsey and Rabbie headed up to the most notorious of all of Scotland’s Mountains, the 12 Munros that make up the Black Cuillin in Skye.  Due to the exposed ridges and rocky nature of the Cuillin, to climb these Munros sensibly requires the use of ropes, a head for heights and also the help of a qualified mountain guide. To conquer the Cuillin was a real challenge not only for Lynsey, who is in fact scared of heights, but also for Rabbie, well because he is a dog.  It was not easy, but after a lot of pumping of adrenaline, patience and alternative route planning to accommodate Rabbie they managed to conquer them all; with many thanks to the help of Mike Lates from Skye Guides.

At the time of writing Lynsey and Rabbie have climbed 278 Munros and are on target to climb the remaining 4 by Christmas 2014. They are heading up the Torridon region to spend the Christmas week in the Munros and have planned to climb the last Munros, “Maol Chean Dearg”, on Christmas Day itself.

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To support Lynsey and Rabbie on their climb you can visit their online giving page: http://www.bmycharity.com/lynseyfitzpatrick

Also to follow their progress visit: https://www.facebook.com/lynseyandrabbie

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National Golf Club Challenge Raise Over £140,000!

UK’s Biggest Amateur Charity Golf Tournament raises another huge sum for Help for Heroes!

The 2014 National Golf Club Challenge Raises £142,358 in support of injured British Heroes. This takes the total fundraising in the last two years alone to £379,578, all of which will help fund the great work the charity does in supporting those members of the Armed Forces who have suffered life-changing injuries or illness while serving their country. 

The money was raised by a combination of two events; the first being the popular national inter-club tournament called The National Golf Club Challenge, which invites golf clubs throughout the UK to compete against each other to raise money for Help for Heroes. 

Additionally, The National Golf Club Challenge (NGCC) team hosted the very successful NGCC Auction which ran throughout the golfing season, auctioning superb golfing holidays, experiences, memorabilia, equipment and much more. Huge thanks going to the Great British Golfing community who responded so generously – and to NGCC partners who contributed significantly to the national fundraising effort. 

Commenting on the money raised, Mark Elliott, Head of External Operations at Help for Heroes said “The National Golf Club Challenge is a wonderful example of thousands of people coming together to ‘do their bit’ – from the hundreds of golf clubs which took part in this year’s challenge, the golf professionals and caddies, the sponsors and organisations who donated auction prizes, to the NGCC team itself; it’s a fantastic team effort. Servicemen and Women who are injured today will still need our support for life. They are still fighting their own battles and, with your continued help, we will ensure they don't fight alone.” 

The 2014 National Golf Club Challenge was partnered by a number of high profile sponsors, including:

  • Titleist
  • Bushnell
  • Nike GolfNGCC_1_Web
  • Your Golf Travel
  • Direct Golf UK
  • HowDidiDo
  • Golf International
  • Golf Monthly
  • Motocaddy
  • The Centurion Club
  • Sunset Beach club
  • La Cala Resort
  • Stoke Park
  • Close House
  • Trump Turnberry
  • OKI
  • Glenbrae
  • SealSkinz
  • Hole in One Club
  • Flix Golf 

“The 2014 NGCC events have been a wonderful success and I am so grateful to all those who have embraced our mission this year,” commented Stacey Jeffries, NGCC Event Director, “Due mainly to the help and support from our great sponsors and especially the generosity of golfers up and down the land that have contributed so positively to a cause close to all our hearts, we have proved that if we unite together, we really can work miracles. We look forward to doing even better in 2015.” 

There is no registration fee for golf clubs to take part in the 2015 National Golf Club Challenge; the only requirement is to raise as much money as possible for Help for Heroes while running a qualifier event. Golfers from each event have the chance to progress to a National Final at the fabulous Trump Turnberry Resort. 

Golf Clubs can register to take part in the 2015 National Golf Club Challenge at www.2015ngcc.com. You can bid on the NGCC online auction at www.ngccauction.com from January 2015.

Her Royal Highness Princess Royal visits Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House

Veterans who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses were visited by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.

The Princess Royal visited Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House, this week in her role as President of City & Guilds, a global leader in skills development. Help for Heroes, the frontrunner in Career Recovery, is working with City & Guilds to help veterans to forge new lives outside of the Armed Forces. Through this partnership, H4H is offering our veterans the opportunity to embrace different careers after they leave the Armed Forces.

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For those recovering from physical and psychological injuries, training in manual skills, such as Motor Mechanics, are a critical part of their recovery and veterans are now able to achieve nationally recognised qualifications on-site in art, horticulture and land-based skills.

The Princess Royal was shown around the facilities – which include a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning suite, woodland and gardening area and art studio – where she met members of the wounded community and their families and heard first-hand about the life-long challenges they face.

Speaking after presenting qualifications, The Princess Royal said wounded veterans are in the best place possible to build a better future.

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“When you leave the Services, you do not have the same structure. But City & Guilds, with its partnership with Help for Heroes, can offer that for the future. You will be able to look forward and plan for your next career.”

Bryn Parry, Co-Founder of Help for Heroes said it was a privilege to host HRH Princess Anne so she could see the difference H4H is making.

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“Through our career recovery services, we empower, motivate and inspire our wounded heroes to find a new, purposeful role that meets their own individual needs, and assists them in moving on with their lives, whatever their injury or illness,” he said. “Once we find that light in people, we fan the flames which will hopefully launch them to a successful career.

“The opportunities we secure help give our heroes invaluable experience and this new partnership with City & Gilds will enable them to progress in their own recovery journey with confidence”

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Band of Brother Josh Campbell recently completed the Employability Skills course. Josh, serving with 23 Pioneer Regiment, was injured in Afghanistan in September 2009 when his vehicle drove over an IED. He was medically discharged from the Army and said the career recovery programme at Help for Heroes has given him hope for the future and he now wishes to use his woodwork skills to become self-employed.

“The course was so helpful in giving me the skills, the knowledge and the motivation to do it. When you become injured and your future is taken away from you, you lose confidence in yourself. However, this course and my time spent at Tedworth House and with Help for Heroes has given me a huge amount of belief and now I have a really positive outlook,” he said.

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Chairman of City & Guilds, Sir John Armitt said he was proud of the partnership with H4H.

He said: “Achieving a nationally recognised qualification not only builds self-esteem and confidence as part of a recovery programme but also shows that there are opportunities open to them outside the Armed Forces.”

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Help for Heroes runs four Recovery Centres around the country which form part of the Defence Recovery Capability to provide ongoing support for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans. The career recovery programme helps develop skills and experience for future employment, as well as offer training and work experience to injured veterans.

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To find out how to access our career recovery support, go to www.helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support/access-welfare-support. If you are a corporate company that can offer our wounded, injured and sick veterans work placements, advice, jobs, taster days or training courses, go to www.helpforheroes.org.uk/get-involved/get-your-company-involved.

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Cricket for Heroes' tour of Barbados

A group of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women embarked on a cricket tour to West Indies as part of Help for Heroes’ extensive Sports Recovery Programme.

The two-week long tour was self-funded by Cricket for Heroes and is one of 300 different sporting opportunities the charity offers, using the camaraderie of sport as part of a broader recovery journey.

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Sixteen wounded, injured and sick heroes enjoyed the tour which saw them compete against local clubs in Barbados. For those players, the tour was the culmination of months of hard work, effort and determination, with their training being done at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House. Head Coach Alan McClelland said it was a life reaffirming tour for many of the WIS who took part.

Their first match, against Combemere School, was fiercely competitive but the group of players played extremely well which set a good tone for the remainder of the tour where they also faced the Barbados Defence Forces, Barbados Defence Force Masters and the Wadadah Club.

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Whilst in Barbados, the team were taken on a tour of Kensington Oval and also visited the Cricket Legends Museum where they met legendary cricketer Desmond Haynes.

The team were also privileged to be invited to the Remembrance Day Parade at Heroes Square. Two members of the tour party laid a wreath on behalf of the charity. They then went to the Officers Mess and the team were introduced to the Governor General and the Prime Minister of Barbados before being hosted at the Royal Legion for lunch where they met more veterans.

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Congratulations to Ortis Charles who was voted Player of the Tour!

Heroes Garden is perfect backdrop for photography workshop

The Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, Chavasse VC House, has teamed up with Garden World Images to offer Garden Photography workshops to support wounded, injured and sick serving personnel, veterans and their loved ones on their road to recovery. 

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Using the Heroes Garden which includes Hope on the Horizon, Matt Keightley’s silver-gilt and People’s Choice winning Chelsea Flower Show garden, the group of Heroes and a few loved ones spent a crisp but gloriously sunny morning learning camera settings and different equipment before being let loose in the wintry garden to find and photograph anything that caught their eye.  

Inspiration was never going to be hard to find in a garden that incorporates granite structures, hornbeam trees, reflection pools, silver birch and a wealth of ferns.  Fallen leaves still with a morning frost, a drooping rose at the end of its blossom and ripples in water were just some of many images taken. Afterwards, there was a chance to view the images and evaluate each one to help discover what makes a great professional garden image. 

 

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For Fiona, a Help for Heroes Band of Sisters member, it was a chance to get close to nature and take time out for herself.  

Fiona said:

“As a wife of a wounded veteran I spend a lot of time worrying my husband is ok, and helping him manage his pain. I love him with all my heart so I do it willingingly – in sickness and in health – but it is tiring. I’m so thankful to have the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre close-by and to have their support.  It seems like a such simple thing - spending time in a garden - but when you combine it with an enjoyable activity like photography it concentrates the mind and the eye on beauty. I lost myself in nature for a few hours and it was wonderful.” 

The workshop was led by Tyrone and Linda McGlinchey, of Garden World Images Ltd (GWI) based in West Bergholt, Colchester. GWI is a Horticultural Picture Library which has been around for many years, supplying plant images to the media, and photographic expertise to amateur and professional photographers around the world.

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 Tyrone said:

 “We have such passion for garden photography, and wanted to share this love of both plants and pictures with the veterans. We are very proud that our profession has the potential to assist with their recovery and we look forward to working with everyone at Chavasse House”

Steve Schollar, Centre Manager at Chavasse VC House, said:

 “Recovery comes in all forms, so it is important we provide a full range of programmes to ensure that we fulfil the charity’s 360 degree holistic approach which includes medical, mind, body, spirit and family needs. This is why Help for Heroes offers mindfulness activities alongside sports recovery activities as we acknowledge that everyone needs quiet time too.

The Heroes Garden is the perfect setting for our wounded to ‘decompress’ after the challenges and high octane activities undertaken elsewhere. Programmes such as Garden Photography allow our Heroes to immerse themselves in and get close to nature.”

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Click here to find out more about our Recovery Centres and how they support our wounded and their loved ones.