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Looking back at the Phoenix House Winter Games

Teams from Help for Heroes Recovery Centres battled it out this week to see who had the speed, the strength, the heart to be crowned Phoenix Winter Games champion.

The friendly inter-Centre games were held over three days at Tedworth House Recovery Centre and the various participants were put through their paces in a variety of events; Archery, Sledge Hockey, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Skiing and Curling.

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Dominating from the start, Colchester emerged victorious and were presented with the trophy at a Gala dinner on Thursday evening, which marked the end of the Games.

Nick King, Adaptive Sports Coach at Tedworth House Phoenix Centre, said the week was a huge success.

“The Winter Games are about engaging the wounded, injured and sick community from across the whole of the UK,” he said. “Bringing them all together for some fun, healthy competition is great for morale and camaraderie. It didn’t matter what your injury or background was, you could take part and join in.

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“Everyone felt included and the benefits, in terms of confidence and morale, was evident as the week went on.”

Among the participants in the Winter Games was Chris Yates, who damaged his spinal cord while lowering a tail gate on a truck. As a result, he suffered a paralysed bladder and now has significant kidney problems as well as leg injuries. A former soldier with the Royal Engineers, Chris served in the Falklands, Kenya, Afghanistan and Germany. He was medically discharged in April, 2014.

He said: "There was a great variety of sports on offer and I was able to do things I had never done before which was great fun. All of us who took part have fairly similar backgrounds so we got on really well and it is always nice to share your experiences with one another.

“Knowing you can still be competitive, despite injuries, is an amazing feeling and your morale goes sky high.

“When you start to believe that you can’t do things, Help for Heroes are always there to tell you that you can. When you start to doubt yourself, Help for Heroes show you how to do it. It’s beyond words to describe how amazing that is.”

     Phoenix Winter Games Results Table

Teams Clay Target Archery Sledge Hocky Skiing Curling Total Places Final Position
Catterick 3rd 4th 3rd 1st 2nd 13 2nd
Tedworth B PRC 4th 2nd 2nd 2nd 4th 14 3rd
Colchester 1st 1st 1st 4th 1st 8 1st
Tedworth A 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 3rd 16 4th
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Antarctic Ice Kayak Adventure

Help for Heroes fundraiser, Kevin Wright, is about to depart to embark on his amazing Antarctic adventure. Kevin has always wanted to visit Antarctica, so along with his younger Brother, Gary, they are about to spend 12 days kayaking between two ice sheets on the frozen continenet.

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After only having the go ahead to start traing 10 weeks after having a knee replacement, Kevin has done all he can to ensure he is fit to undertake this once in a life time challenge. He has built up his fitness with lots of walking, cycling, and of course kayaking along the canals of Wiltshire, and has also joined his local Weight Watchers to get in shape to leave on Saturday 28th February.

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Kevin's build up to his challenge has been a family affair with his Grandchildren supporting him every step of the way. They have been baking cakes, with the help of their mum, to sell at their school to help push Kevin's fundraising total towards his fantastic £2000 target.

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'Go For It, Keep Going, and Never Give Up'

To support Kevin and Gary on their journey donate at: Bmycharity.com/KevinWright

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Super Ruby Herbert's colourful calendar for Heroes

One of Help for Heroes youngest fundraisers paid a special visit to Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House last week.

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Ruby Herbert, who is just 3 years old, visited the centre to drop off some of her specially designed Help for Heroes calendars. Ruby started doing drawings at Nursery using her handprints and footprints and they have become a masterpiece. She has put those drawings to good use and created a calendar which was sold to friends and family to raise money for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.

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She has sold nearly 200 calendars, including to our Hero Patrons and celebrity patrons such as Lorraine Kelly, and raised more than £1,000 for Help for Heroes.

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Thank you Ruby!

If you would like to fundraise for Help for Heroes, click here.

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Mike and Sue celebrate reaching £100,000 target

Dedicated Help for Heroes supporters Mike and Sue Jackson, held a special gathering at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, Chavasse VC House, on Saturday 21 February to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the volunteers who have helped them raise over £100,000. 

Mike Jackson

The couple and their daughter Nia began fundraising in memory of their son-in-law, Colour Serjeant Kevin Fortuna of A Company, 1 Rifles who was killed on active service in Afghanistan on 23 May 2011 and for his many comrades who have suffered life-changing injuries. Initially, they set a target of £10,000 which was quickly reached as Nia (Kevin’s widow), Mike, Sue and an army of volunteers took part in various challenges such as skydiving, marathon running, hog roasts and bike rides. 

Kevin Fortuna

In December 2014 the funds reached £100,000 and still continue to rise. Help for Heroes recognised Mike and Sue’s outstanding fundraising achievements with a Heroes Award last year and Saturday’s event was the couple’s way of thanking their friends for helping to hit the phenomenal figure.  

Approximately 30 friends attended the celebration where they enjoyed a Ghurkha curry, a glass of bubbly and a tour of Chavasse VC House. They also heard from Centre Manager Steve Schollar who told them how the money raised directly helps the wounded, injured and sick men and women of the armed forces through recovery activities such as well-being treatments, sports recovery programmes and welfare support.

Steve said:         

“What Mike, Sue and all their friends and family have achieved is remarkable. All of us here at the Recovery Centre are in awe of the efforts and tireless dedication they have shown. Quite simply, Help for Heroes would not be able to exist without people like Mike and I cannot thank them enough.”

  Writing on his bmycharity page Mike said:

“So, the challenge to raise money goes on. I have 81 collecting tubs and 22 boxes of wristbands and lapel pins in shops, pubs, gyms, offices and people’s houses and will be organising and running more events. The charity webpage will remain open indefinitely so any donations … will be very much appreciated and will make a big difference to the lives of our brave heroes.

We started with modest intentions and I can't believe the generosity of everyone around us. We never dreamed of reaching £50k but once we did, we thought we could do it again and by December 2014 we had. So, what next? Just keep going, I suppose, and see what happens!”

Congratulations Mike and Sue and a huge thank you from all of us at Help for Heroes!

If you would like to ‘do your bit’ there are so many ways you can show your support. Find out how to get involved here.

Phoenix Winter Games

Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House will host the Phoenix Winter Games next week, an annual sporting competition between all four of the charity’s centres (Tidworth, Colchester, Catterick and Plymouth).

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The Games will be held over three days at the Tidworth-based centre. Wounded, injured and sick servicemen, women and veterans will take part in a range of activities including skiing, curling, sledge hockey and clay target shooting.

The competition is designed to be all inclusive and to bring together Servicemen, women and Veterans recovering from injury or illness and give them an opportunity to enjoy some healthy competition in a fun environment.

We will be keeping you updated with the progress and scores!

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