Keeping it in the community

Friday 19 May 2017

Shaun Patrick and his family had supported Help for Heroes for a number of years, from helping out at events in their hometown of Lutterworth in South Leicestershire, to buying merchandise. But the Charity would take on a far greater significance in their lives when Shaun’s son, Jack, passed away unexpectedly in 2015.

Jack, who worked with his dad at his company Notts Sport, had been a passionate supporter of Help for Heroes, proudly wearing his wristband and fundraising regularly.

Shaun decided the best way to keep Jack’s memory alive was to fundraise for Help for Heroes. Since then, he says he’s been overwhelmed by the response from the local community. Countless events and over £40,000 raised later, he tells us about his fundraising journey.

“As a family, Help for Heroes is a charity that’s always resonated with us.

“When Jack died, and through all the upheaval that brought, we said as a family we should raise money in his name because he loved the Charity so much. We thought it was the best legacy for Jack. The community really bought into the idea.

“It started at Jack’s funeral where we encouraged people to donate. People then started contacting us asking if they could raise money and told us their ideas. I’ve been coordinating it but people have done some incredible things to raise funds.

“One of the first things was one of Jack’s best mates, James, who cycled around every Premier League ground in the country in six days, finishing at the home of Leicester City who Jack and I supported. That was really inspiring.

“Our local pub has a wheelie bin race every Boxing Day, where people donate and race for a trophy. Local friends organised a curry night too.

“My company is a Charity of the Year so members of staff also get involved with Help for Heroes. Some of the lads at work grew chillies and made them into a fiery sauce called ‘Jackhammer’!

“Jack had previously organised a local football match in aid of Help for Heroes which we still hold. We organise a charity cricket match, made up of local sides, which has now become our official charity day. The Help for Heroes Cricket Club, made up of wounded Servicemen and women, play in it. They’re a great bunch. The local community get involved with the day and we have a great time.

“Fundraising is helping us all get through Jack’s passing. We want to continue with it and support the Armed Forces while keeping Jack’s memory alive. We continue to encourage people to come up with fundraising ideas. There’s all sorts of stuff going on, with so many people committed to helping the cause. 

“The whole fundraising experience has been brilliant. Help for Heroes is doing a great job. I’ve been down to Tedworth House Recovery Centre and seen the work it’s doing.

“It had been pointed out that I haven’t done any of the physical challenges yet until now! I, along with my wife Emma and three friends, have signed up to Help for Heroes’ trek in Cambodia in March 2018. It’s going to be real challenge for someone as unfit as me!

“My daughter who’s very scared of heights and flying did a skydive, which helped give me the motivation to start training for the trek. As part of this, we’ll be organising lots of smaller events to raise awareness of what we’re doing and help bring in more funds.

“One of the best parts about all this has been hearing people talk about Jack, Help for Heroes and why we’re doing what we’re doing. People have told us how fun the events have been and that they want to do them again. There’s all sorts of stuff in the pipeline, including a local chef who wants to do a taster menu night. We’ve got a bank of ideas.

“Jack was passionate about Help for Heroes and knowing we are carrying that on has been a great thing to be a part of. You know the money raised is going to a good cause and will make a difference. That’s what it’s all about really.

“Although every day is a real trial without Jack, the money people have raised in support of Help for Heroes in his name has kept us going. It’s been a moving experience for everyone.

“If you’re thinking of fundraising, get involved because Help for Heroes is a great charity. Just because we’re not fighting in any wars at the moment doesn’t mean everybody is okay. There are a lot of people out there who still need support, including those with mental health challenges. Ongoing, long-term support is needed and we try and stress that to everybody we meet while fundraising.

“Get involved because it’s great fun, it’s highly rewarding and it’s making a difference.”

To start your own fundraising journey, click here.

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