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GI Group hit the heights

Employees at GI Group have, quite literally, taken fundraising to new heights by climbing mountains, jumping out of planes, running, rowing, cycling – the lot!

Staff at the recruitment and on-site HR specialists, have being ‘doing their bit’ to support our wounded, injured and sick, as part of a nationwide partnership across 72 locations.They have raised almost £7,000 so far.

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Fundraising kicked off in July when a team of five completed the 3 Peaks Challenge well within their target 24-hour period. Not to be outdone, nine members of the Site Managed Services division climbed 3,650ft up Mount Snowdon over a particularly miserable weekend in September.

A bit of healthy inter-company rivalry is clearly all the incentive needed in the GI Group. The Apprenticeship Programme Team took on the challenge of travelling from the UK Head Office in Chesterfield to the company HQ in Milan, Italy. The team of 10 accumulatively ran, cycled, walked, rowed and swam the distance of 961 miles between July and September. An incredible effort by all!

GI’s support for Help for Heroes is part of the group's ongoing company-wide commitment to corporate social responsibility, which aims to improve the prospects and lives of those in the communities in which they operate. Thank you to everyone in GI!

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Marston's launch H4H ale

A unique bottled beer created by three injured veterans in partnership with Marston’s goes on sale today to raise funds for wounded Servicemen and women.

The beer came about after a chance meeting between Bryn Parry, Co-Founder of Help for Heroes, and Tesco ale buyer Chiara Nesbitt at The Sun’s Military Awards last year which led to the involvement of Marston’s.

Three members of Help for Heroes Band of Brothers went to Marston’s brewery in Burton-on-Trent in July to work with Innovations Brewer, Genevieve Upton, on the recipe. Pete Dunning, ‘Baz’ Whittingham and Si Brown knew exactly what they wanted and, after tasting samples, Genevieve narrowed it down to two beer samples to take away and mix together. In typical Band of Brothers no-nonsense-style, Pete, Baz and Si poured the two ingredients together, tasted it and announced “That’s it.”

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They believe, with Genevieve’s help, they have come up with a beer that will win over ale drinkers as well as the growing number of traditional lager fans who are now switching to lighter brews but with more flavour.

On a return visit to the brewery to see the finished beer, Help for Heroes Ambassador Simon Brown said: “We wanted a modern-tasting ale and Pete, Baz and I all had a definite idea of how we wanted the beer to taste. Genevieve was brilliant in capturing that for us.

“We hope members of the public, when they are doing their weekly shop, will think about the wounded and pop a couple of bottles into their shopping basket.”

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The label for Help for Heroes beer, which has a strength of 4.2% ABV, bears the slogan, “Created by Heroes; Brewed by Marston’s; Enjoyed by Everyone.”

Richard Westwood, Managing Director of Marston’s Beer Company said: “We are enormously proud to be associated with Help for Heroes. Everyone involved in this project has been bowled over by the fantastic work that they do with injured servicemen. We hope that the beer will raise awareness for the work done by the Charity as well as raising some money.”

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It is on sale in 250 Tesco stores across the UK, priced at £1.97 with five pence from the sale of each bottle going to Help for Heroes to support injured members of the Armed Forces and their families.

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Behind the scenes at the Tomorrow film

Veteran soldiers at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House, were given roles as extras in the latest Martin Scorsese film, Tomorrow.

Tomorrow, due for release autumn 2015, spent a day filming at the Tidworth based Recovery Centre last Sunday, using eight veterans as extras. The film candidly explores the difficulty and loneliness soldiers encounter as they try to get back into society having served for their country; moving on from losses and injuries to forge a life, find sustaining work and experience love.

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This is a very topical and timely film, with the end of the UK combat mission in Afghanistan due to take place by the end of the year when British troops will be withdrawn after 13 years of intense fighting, which left nearly 75,000 British men and women in need of physical or psychological support. The film is supporting Help for Heroes and is backing our “Friends” campaign, to encourage regular donating.

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Help for Heroes Director of Recovery, David Richmond, said: “We are so pleased that Tomorrow is tackling some of the very real issues that impact upon our servicemen, women and veterans. As we withdraw from Afghanistan, it is especially important that we don’t forget the long term effects that conflict can have on the people who put themselves on the line for our country – the physical and psychological scars are rarely easy or quick to heal.”

The veterans were asked to play a game of wheelchair basketball and do some training in the gym, which would be used in the background of certain scenes. Veteran Jason Zawaisa said it was a good experience to be involved.

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“It was different and really exciting,” he said. “It’s not every day you get to be involved in a film. It is nice to see a film being made which will hopefully accurately show the experiences me and others have gone through. I’m looking forward to seeing it.”

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Director Martha Pinson said Tedworth House provided an inspiring environment for her, the cast and all of the crew. She said: “ Tomorrow explores the difficulty of moving on from loses and injuries, to forge a life, to find sustaining work, and experience love. This is an acute challenge for a person in their mid‐late 20’s, which has not been extensively explored.”

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Chelsea Pensioners visit Tedworth House

Wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House welcomed a group of Chelsea Pensioners this week.

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The Pensioners enjoyed a tour of Tedworth House and played some indoor games alongside our WIS. Inside Tedworth House Phoenix Centre they were invited to team up with our residents and play badminton, basketball, golf, football and giant Jenga. The day was rounded off with a rather competitive game of sitting volleyball!

Centre manager Giles Woodhouse said: “Our residents were honoured to have the Chelsea Pensioners visit their centre and they relished the opportunity to play games with them and interact, sharing their various experiences.

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“We recognise the enormous debt we owe to these men and their colleagues and it is wonderful to see that they were equally humbled to meet our heroes.”

Veteran Mark Povey said it was a hugely uplifting day for him. “I was born in Chelsea so for me to spend the day with these gentlemen was an honour,” he said.

“We got to spend the day talking with them and I explained the good work Help for Heroes do and how the charity has really helped me. They were really happy to listen and it was inspirational to hear them talk about their time in the Armed Forces too and share their incredible life stories.”

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Chelsea Pensioner Alan Lee, 92, said he enjoyed a wonderful day.

“I’ve been to Tedworth House before and it just gets better. We get to see how Tedworth House is really helping our heroes and we learn so much from our visit. I hope to come back again!”

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Fundraiser Dave Smith's 630 mile south coast trek

Dave Smith of Roundhay spent the last three months picking his way round the south coast of the UK, sleeping in a tent every night, and carrying essentials in a rucksack round his shoulders. He's so far raised an incredible £2,500 for Help for Heroes - help him swell that figure by donating via his bmycharity page.

Dave Smith

Dave, 60 years old and a former HR manager, said his adventure saw him climb about 115,000ft - nearly four times the height of Mount Everest. He managed to lose a whopping 2 stone in body weight, and if that wasn't enough, his epic journey even helped him regain his sense of smell, something he lost four years ago.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was recommended by Dave's doctor that in no way should he attempt this mammoth trek but Dave's planning for it was already in motion; the challenge was a year in the planning following a family holiday in Cornwall.

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Dave said, "Whilst the bulk of the time I was on my own I didn't feel alone and at no stage (after the first week) did it feel like a tough event. I had plenty of contact from the H4H team and knew that if I needed help or support it was there.

"H4H is more than a charitable organisation; it has captured, and represents, the hearts of the nation. I'm proud to have been able to make a contribution."

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