A group of wounded, injured and sick veterans from the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester responded to a plea for help by local counsellor Dave Harris after a World War 2 bunker was defaced with graffiti only weeks after it had been painted by local school children.
Help for Heroes Band of Brother members Melvin White, Bob Ward, Ryan Lewis and Help for Heroes Band of Sister, Karen Usher, discussed how to refresh the shelter and Ryan, a 7 Para Royal Horse Artillery veteran, came up with the design which included all of 16 Air Assault Brigade’s Drop Zone flash badges and Pegasus insignia. Drop Zone flash badges are worn by the UK Airborne Forces and all squadrons of the RAF Regiment and were initially introduced to meet the requirement for identifying and co-ordinate Airborne Forces on drop zones and at rendez vous points.
16 Air Assault Brigade, are based in Colchester and many wounded, particular Serving Personnel, use the Recovery Centre as part of their recovery journey after becoming sick. For Ryan it was important to maintain local military links within the design.
Ryan, who was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012 said: “When I heard about the project I knew exactly what I wanted to include in the design. The Brigade play a big part in Colchester’s community and I wanted to keep that link between our serving, our wounded and remembrance. It was also good for me and my recovery to have something to focus on.”
Dave Harris said: “For the community to rally round and work with Help for Heroes is a statement of how we feel about the army in our town. We have a special relationship for our army service men and women. This project borne out of a negative vandalism story and will be an inspiration to passersby.”
The Colchester Recovery Centre provides a space for wounded injured and sick serving personnel and veterans as well as their loved ones to recover. A range of activities and opportunities are open including taking part in the world class sports recovery session, welfare support and guidance, a psychological wellbeing team and holistic sessions such as yoga, massage, pilates, and arts and crafts. To find out more about the Recovery Centre could support you or a loved one please visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk/how-we-help/recovery-centres/