Help for Heroes called for the people of Great Britain to help us raise money for wounded Service personnel and boy, have you stepped up to the challenge!
Check out what our phenomenal supporters have been up to below:
A Year of 'Doing It For Heroes'
A team of Help for Heroes supporters have taken home the trophy with a bumper year of sporting collections.
The 'Doing It For Heroes' campaign, headed by Andy 'Gibbo'Gibbs spent 2012 going to football and rugby matches collecting for H4H. They also undertook 'The Football grounds of London' sponsored walk, a collection at the Henley Regatta and one at a Coldplay concert The Emirates Stadium.
In total the team of Navy senior rates have made over £72,000 for Help for Heroes. They started the year at Vicarage Road when Watford played Spurs at the FA cup and finished with a walk around the pubs near the Emirates when Arsenal took on West Brom.
In total collections in and around football matches made £8,009 with a £16,729 collected at Wembley matches.
Gibbo adds "There was also lots of fun to be had collecting at non-league football grounds predominantly in support of the Middlesex County FA Charity Cup which was named the "Middlesex County Cup in support of Help for Heroes. This event without the bucket shaking raised just over £2000 for Help for Heroes, so well worth the cold nights for me, JC and Bill Thomas in some very random locations."
Rugby games were also incredibly lucrative, Gibbo and his team headed to the Six Nations in February and March. Later on they collected at the Rugby League Final, and at pubs around Twickenham for other big matches including when New Zealand played England in the recent Autumn Internationals.
Gibbo also embarked on a walk, they set out on February 24th from Dagenham, the team then spent four days on the road visiting all the football grounds before finishing at Wembley on February 28th.
The walk was sponsored by Elite Insurance with additional sponsorship from the Union Jack Club, and Essex Auto Group. In total the event made £11,000.
In total Gibbo, JC and Georgina have spent 70 per cent of their weekends either collecting or organising events as part of the campaign. Gibbo says "All this is done by people who are passionate and care. It is a hobby which we enjoy."
In total since it began 'Doing It For Heroes' has collected £186,000. They are hoping with one more collection this year will take the 2012 total over £75,000. Gibbo is looking forward to 2013 and is confident it will not be long before the team makes over £200k
I Found You Christmas Single
Two Help for Heroes supporters have written a Christmas single after being inspired by the work of the charity.
Martin Davis and Ronnie Teape created 'I Found You' The initial idea for the song came to Martin when he was walking along a muddy footpath on a cold day in November. Martin says "Ronnie has done all the hard work by arranging and recording. He has transformed the song into an anthem that hopefully everyone can get behind."
The creative pair has now recorded a video which can be found on You Tube here. The video features the talents singer Francesca Lewis, with Stevie Craig on Guitar and Miranda Lewis on Cello.
A team have helped put the campaign together and are now hoping to make as much money as possible for Help for Heroes. Several people in the team have connections to the forces and are full of admiration for the charity, Martin says I was moved to write 'I Found You' dedicated in support for Help for Heroes because of the extraordinary and specialised support they provide to our country's sons and daughters as they face a new set of challenges'
If you would like to download the single click here.
Eddie Stobart Truckers Swap Steering wheels for Mircophones and release single for Help for Heroes
Iconic British trucking brand, Eddie Stobart, has released its first Christmas music single, with a special rendition of 12 Days of Christmas recorded in aid of Help for Heroes.
Performed by Eddie Stobart Truckers, the single was released on 17 December, available as both a music and video download, priced at 79p and £1.29 respectively can be downloaded from iTunes.
The special parody 12 Days of Christmas features revised lyrics making fun references to the work Eddie Stobart does in 'delivering Christmas' to the nation. Lines from the song include: "Four Frozen Turkeys", "Five Tonnes of Sprouts" and "Seven Spotters Spotting" – referring to the 25,000 members of the Eddie Stobart Members Club.
The company has always had a close affinity with the armed forces with over 10% of Eddie Stobart drivers coming from a military background. The Christmas single will help raise some important funds for Help for Heroes and the beneficial work it carries out across the UK. Two of the singers, Matt Ekins and Lee Dowling, served together in Bosnia as part of their service with the Royal Logistics Corp.
Help for Heroes Co-founder and CEO, Bryn Parry, said: "We are delighted that Eddie Stobart is releasing a Christmas single to fundraise for Help for Heroes. Eddie Stobart is an iconic British company and the money they raise will help our iconic British charity, Help for Heroes, provides lifelong support for those who have suffered life changing injuries or illnesses while serving our country".
Stobart Group chief operating officer, William Stobart, added: "We've had a lot of fun recording the song, but it is for a very serious cause that is close to the hearts of many of us at Stobart. Christmas is an extremely busy time for Eddie Stobart but it’s great that we can use this song to connect with the public and explain the huge amount of festive goods we will be delivering over the next few weeks."
The 'making of'’ the single and accompanying video will feature as part of Channel 5's Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers Christmas Special, broadcast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Mexico Madness Completed!
A team of Help for Heroes cyclists have completed a total of 600 kilometers from the Gulf of Mexico over the Sierra Madre to the Pacific Ocean. Climbing a cumulative elevation of nearly 9000 metres (greater than the height of Everest) over 8 consecutive days. The first H4H cycle challenge held outside the Europe.
In total, 23 cyclists, including one member of the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers, took to the road. Although the challenge was a lot tougher than anyone had expected, the team had a fantastic time, and loved every moment (well with the exception of Day 3 - climbing in excess of 3000m over 68K!). Jacks Howe, the Help for Heroes representative, said: "the team bonded from the moment we met at the airport and this only improved once we got on the road. No one was quite prepared for how tough the cycling was and this brought the group even closer together. We all worked well as a team making sure we all got to the end of each day."
Most days would see participants rise at 6am to enjoy an amazing breakfast cooked by the Mexican catering team before taking to the road. Along the undulating route they would take in stunning scenery and meet the locals. Jacks said: "It was often a highlight of the day for the riders seeing the locals, they were incredibly friendly greeting us with broad smiles and enthusiastic waves. Children would run along the roadside cheering and waving as we cycled past and truck drivers would be considerate in passing wide and slowly and hooting their horns. It was so nice."
They then spent on average about 6 hours in the saddle before setting up camp. Camp consisted of two man tents positioned in mostly remote areas with a river to wash in and generally very few home comforts. The team would gather for their evening meal. Jacks said: "It was a chance to reflect on the challenges we had faced that day and enjoy some of the most delicious food, cooked by the amazing Mexican support crew. We were certainly very well fed!"
The team all had a fantastic time and the passion for Help for Heroes certainly shone through. Jacks said: "All the participants formed a special bond and the admiration for each individual was evident throughout."
Once again, this Help for Heroes challenge proved to be a life affirming experience for everyone involved.
Here are a few quotes from some individuals that took part that just about sums up this trip.
"An amazing and awesome experience that pushes you to your limits, fills you with pride and introduces you to some wonderful people in a beautiful country". PB
"In life it is important to step outside the comfort zone from time to time, Mexico provided the most strenuously challenging, physically and mentally demanding but rewarding and joyous adventure of my life." RG
"A group of 23 strangers coming together from all walks of life to forge friendships that will last a lifetime, working as a team to complete a huge task with tears and laughter along the way, forming a bond that no-one else will fully understand." JC
The entire team are already talking about what they can do next. If you feel inspired, there are plenty of Help for Heroes overseas adventures in 2013! Please click here to find out more.
Huey and the New Yorkers
Huey Morgan, front man from The Fun Lovin' Criminals has set up a new band, "Huey and the New Yorkers" and is releasing a single for Help for Heroes.
The single, called 'Christmas By The Side of the Road' tells the story of a soldier driving home to New York to spend time with his mother on Christmas Day after five years apart.
The ex-United States Marine is a keen supporter of veterans both here in the UK and in his home country He says:"These men and women not only risk their lives but they will also have to the deal with the long-term psychological effects of war – and it's far too easy for everybody to take this for granted – out of sight, out of mind."
It's not just the single that will be raising money for Help for Heroes, in October Huey announced the money taken from new album 'Say It To My Face' will be donated to Help for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project in the USA.
Huey has already started fundraising – he spent the day busking in London, where he now lives, while being filmed for the music video. He raised £131.67.
To watch the video click here, or to buy the single click here.
Heroes raising money for heroes
A double amputee is well on his way to making his target of £25,000 for Help for Heroes.
Rick Clement is trying to raise £100,000 over 12 months for 4 military charities after each one helped him along his road to recovery.
Rick lost both his legs and suffered massive internal injuries after stepping on an IED in May 2010. During his recovery, Rick has used the Help for Heroes gym and swimming pool at Headley Court, and has joined the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers, a support network designed to inspire, enable and support wounded Service personnel.
Now the Blackpool local is trying to give back, he has held a number of fundraisers, and most notably sold his Olympic Torch. Rick carried the flame through his home town back in July and then auctioned the iconic memorabilia, making £15,000.
Rick has also hosted a race night at the Belvedere Dog Track and in February will be heading out to Australia to dive with Great White Sharks.
Most recently, Rick received some celebrity support for his fundraising efforts after spending a night at The Millie's.
The 32 year old was nominated in the Overcoming Adversity category, and, despite not taking the award home, Rick had a truly fantastic evening.
"It was an honour to just be nominated, the night was so much fun, I met some incredible people including David Jason and Help for Heroes Patrons Ross Kemp and Peta Todd. David Jason was very impressed and said he would love to donate something for a future auction. I gave out loads of cards and even if just a few people come back and show their support it would be amazing."
The soldier from the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster Regiment has made nearly £25,000 so far and is confident he will reach his target. He has no plans to stop, even when he reaches his target. He says: "Fundraising for these good causes has been really enjoyable, it keeps me busy and gives me something to focus on."
If you would like to help Rick reach his target, head to his Justgiving page.
Silver Sands Helping Our Heroes
The staff at Silver Sands Caravan Park in Lossiemouth, Morayshire organized a Help for Heroes Festival and successfully raised £1736. It was an all day event with lots of stalls, raffles and competitions for the kids. The crowds were entertained by the RAF Lossiemouth Pipes and Drums Band and the park staff who movingly sang their ‘Heroes’ song. The day's events closed with the release of 425 white balloons into the clear blue sky with the names attached of Service personnel who had been killed in Afghanistan since the conflict began. Dianne Mcleish, the volunteer County Coordinator for Moray and the Highlands was very impressed by the amount of money raised and thought the release of the balloons was a moving tribute to the Servicemen and women who have given their lives.
Hair and Beards Raise £16000
Tony Brown & Wayne Rhodes from Wigan, decided they wouldn't shave their beards or trim their hair for a whole year. On Saturday, a full year after registering the event with Help for Heroes, they had their hair and beards removed at a professional barbershop offering cut-throat shaves. Their efforts have yielded a very impressive £16,400 for Help for Heroes.
Tony and Wayne have suffered some jibes from their colleagues and dealt with a year of being compared to members of ZZ Top. To say they were relieved after their visit to the barber is an understatement!
Tony's daughter, Molly, was proud to be selected to begin the removal of the beards, before handing over to Vicky and Lauren of Victoria's Hair Studio, Southport.