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Meet our wonderful Patrons who give so freely of their time to support our wounded, injured and sick in many activities, spread the message and help us in our fundraising efforts.
If you are interested in becoming a patron, please send Mark Elliott an email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ross Kemp is an actor, author and BAFTA-winning documentary maker. He rose to prominence in the role of Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap opera, EastEnders. Since 2006, Kemp has received international recognition for his investigative documentaries, specialising in the area of gang culture. He has also been on the front line with British Troops in Afghanistan on several occasions.
The Coronation Street star has been a proud Ambassador for the charity for many years and spends much of his spare time campaigning to improve the lives of both serving personnel and Veterans alike.
Antony first became involved with Help For Heroes when one of his friends returned home after serving abroad, in need of support.
“It is a privilege and an honour to be a Patron of Help For Heroes, and I promise that I will do all I can to help.”
Lorraine Kelly is a TV presenter and journalist, and a keen supporter of Help for Heroes Band of Sisters. She takes a personal interest in their stories and is the face of Bake for Heroes.
"I am honoured to be a Patron of Help for Heroes and to be involved in the incredible work they do. It is so important that we all get the chance to say thank you to our Armed Forces and for them to know how grateful we are for their service and sacrifices."
Jane is a well-renowned journalist, author and television presenter who has supported Help for Heroes since its early days. A regular on Loose Women and columnist for The Sun, she is a vocal advocate for better awareness of Veterans’ mental and physical health issues. Jane has been a key part of Help for Heroes’ development, supporting many of our campaigns, taking part in fundraising events and visiting our Recovery Centres.
“I have been involved with Help for Heroes for a long time and it’s an honour to be a Patron for such a worthwhile cause that needs our ongoing support.”
James was commissioned an officer in the Life Guards regiment, a unit of the Household Cavalry of the British Army. He rose to the rank of Captain and served as an armoured reconnaissance officer in the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo. He was put in charge of leading 30,000 troops into Pristina as the first British officer to enter the Kosovan capital. It was while on duty in Kosovo that he wrote the song "No Bravery".
In 2019 James donated all proceeds from his song "Monsters" between Help for Heroes and Royal British Legion.
Jeremy and Francie Clarkson
Jeremy and Francie were key figures in the launch of Help for Heroes. Jeremy's interest in the Armed Forces and Francie's family connections, her father was Major Robert Cain VC, linked them to the young men and women fighting today. An early visit to Selly Oak Hospital inspired them to do what they could to help the wounded. Both have helped fundraise at numerous events and Francie has cycled hundreds of miles alongside our Battle Back riders to Arnhem on the Bridge Too Far ride and continues to be closely involved in the development of the Charity.
Peta and Mark Cavendish
The professional cycling star, Mark, and his wife Peta have long been key supporters of Help for Heroes and have thrown themselves into many fundraising events and awareness raising activities for us. Amongst Mark’s many outstanding cycling achievements, he has won thirty-four Tour de France stages. Mark equalled Eddy Merckx's record on the 2021 Tour. Peta was one of our most famous page 3 models and is now a busy writer, mother and professional cycling fan.
In 2003, when she was only two years old, Lydia contracted Meningitis with Septicaemia. She pulled through but after countless operations she still had to have below knee double amputations. Lydia never lets her disability stop her doing what she wants. She wanted to raise money for Help for Heroes and planned a sponsored swim which was only intended to be 20 lengths. On the day, cheered on by friends and family, Lydia swam 64 lengths and raised just over £13,500. Since then, she has organised a regular 1-mile run, climbed Pen-Y-Fan and completed the London Marathon on her hand bike to fundraise for Help for Heroes. Lydia has been inspired by many of the veterans Help for Heroes has supported. The reason why she wants to do so much for these people is because in her words: "They have got leggies like me and I want to help."
Simon is a former England Rugby Union International. In 1983, he damaged his ankle and spent part of his recovery at the Defence Medical Recovery Centre at Headley Court, alongside Falkland Veterans. It was there that Simon says he gained perspective, through understanding the bravery and humility of our wounded soldiers. After recovering, Simon went on to represent England in 23 international matches from 1986 to 1992, including the 1991 World Cup and 1992 Five Nations Championship. Simon has been involved with Help for Heroes since the start, and was instrumental in the organisation of the Heroes Rugby matches in which raised over £2m for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, veterans and their families and continues to support the charity in many ways.
Ken served in the British Army for 25 years. He started as a tank driver but after being selected for Sandhurst he spent most of his career as an officer with the Queens Regiment and the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment and eventually became an SAS Troop and Squadron Commander where as he puts it 'he got sent away to some very unsafe places and couldn't tell anybody anything about it'! Ken's experiences in the Army led him to other careers in television, public speaking and leadership training.
Chris Holmes MBE MA
Chris Holmes is one of Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer and the only British Paralympic swimmer to win six gold medals at a single Games. He was Director of Paralympic Integration for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London. A lifelong campaigner for equality and inclusion, Chris was appointed to the House of Lords in 2013 and speaks regularly at corporate, public sector, community and charity events across the UK and worldwide.
Richard was Member of Parliament for Newbury 2005-2019. He was commissioned into the Royal Green Jackets in 1981 and served in Northern Ireland and the Far East. On leaving the Army he qualified as a Chartered Surveyor. As well as being a farmer he ran a property business. He was a Minister for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and has taken a great interest in Veterans, Defence and Security issues. In January 2010 he stepped down from the role of Trustee of Help for Heroes but continues to support the Charity in his non-executive role as a Patron.
General the Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL, President
General the Lord Dannatt was commissioned into The Green Howards in 1971 and served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Germany and Bosnia. He took command of 3rd (United Kingdom) Division in January 1999 and served in Kosovo that year as Commander British Forces and later as the Deputy Commander Operations of the Stabilisation Force. In March 2005 he took over as Commander-in-Chief Land Command and assumed the appointment of Chief of the General Staff in August 2006. He retired from the Army in August 2009 to become Constable of The Tower of London until 2016, was appointed to the House of Lords in 2010 and sits on the Crossbenches. He has been hugely involved in Help for Heroes from the start, both as a Trustee and as the first President of the Charity.
From the day he was found in a carrier bag on the steps of Guy's Hospital, Andy McNab has lived an extraordinary life. As a teenage delinquent, he kicked against society. As a young soldier he waged war against the IRA in the streets and fields of South Armagh. As a member of 22 SAS he was at the centre of covert operations for nine years – on five continents. Awarded both the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Military Medal (MM) during his military career, McNab was the British Army's most highly decorated serving soldier when he finally left the SAS. Since then he has become one of the world’s bestselling writers, drawing on his insider knowledge and experience.
Chris Moon MBE
After leaving the Army, Chris Moon worked for a charity clearing landmines and the debris of war in Asia and Africa and is one of the few westerners to have survived abduction by Khmer Rouge guerrillas. He was blown up while walking in the cleared area of a minefield in remote East Africa in 1995. Less than a year after leaving hospital, Chris did the London Marathon and subsequently many of the world’s toughest ultra-marathons, raising funds for charities assisting the disabled. Shortly after being injured he enrolled on a Master’s degree in Security Management at Leicester University which he completed, wrote his autobiography One Step Beyond and went into business as a speaker and trainer on mindset, motivation and leadership.
Army Veteran Lucy Wyndham-Read, has been involved in the Health & Fitness industry for over 25 years, and now in her late-forties, she has a wealth of experience in what works and how to get results. She has helped millions of people worldwide with her workouts.
At the age of 19, Lucy decided that despite her ‘girly image’, the fact that she had been bullied at school and that the thought of doing any sport terrified her, she wanted to take on what was for her the ultimate challenge of joining the Army. It was during her five years of serving that she learnt some of the highly effective skills which she has used to her advantage today. In particular, she learned about fitness, motivation, utter determination, and how to never give up.
JJ Chalmers joined the Royal Marines Reserve in 2005 while at university, transferring to regular service in 2010.
A year later, he was serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when he suffered life-changing injuries from an IED blast. JJ lost two fingers and suffered facial and leg injuries in the incident, and his right elbow was badly damaged.
JJ is a keen supporter of Help for Heroes and can be seen on most things Invictus Games and C4 Paralympics. JJ also appeared in the 2020 edition of Strictly Come Dancing and made it to the Quarter Finals.
In 2021 JJ will be hosting Channel 4 coverage of the Tokyo 21 Paralympics.
Help for Heroes supports wounded, sick and injured serving personnel and veterans of the Armed Forces in their recovery. We have around 80 wonderful Beneficiary Ambassadors who help raise awareness by sharing their experiences talking first-hand about the work we do. Below we have some information on our Ambassadors and Beneficariy Ambassadors.
David Richmond CBE
David has been heavily involved in Help for Heroes. As a past Recovery Director, David was responsible for all four Help for Heroes Recovery Centres in Tidworth, Catterick, Colchester and Plymouth. He also established and looked after the recovery programmes and support that we offer, from fellowship to sport, health and physical wellbeing and psychological wellbeing and grant-making to individuals and organisations.
Johnson Beharry VC
Johnson Beharry VC of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment is a British soldier who, on 18 March 2005, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration for valour in the British and Commonwealth armed forces, for twice saving members of his unit from ambushes on 1 May and 11 June 2004 at Al-Amarah, Iraq. He sustained serious head injuries in the latter engagement.
Major Peter Norton GC
Major Peter Norton deployed to Baghdad in 2005 and at the end of July was very seriously injured by an IED; in March 2006 he was awarded the George Cross for his actions during the incident. Following 11 months of hospitalisation and 14 months of rehabilitation, he retrained as a specialist in disarming explosive devices and taught at the Defence Academy’s College of Management and Technology until 2013, until retiring on medical grounds. In addition to his role as an ambassador of Help for Heroes and a supporter and fund-raiser for SSAFA, ABF, BLESMA and The Felix Fund, Pete has rediscovered his love of photography plus new pastimes and interests such as downhill sit-skiing and hand-biking.
Mark Sutcliffe MBE
Mark served in the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment 'the poachers' during his service he has deployed to Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq. During his tour of Basra July 2006 after being ambushed and hit by an RPG his left leg was blown off. After a short recovery he took up the post of a Military Liaison Officer for a period of four years at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine looking after the needs of other injured servicepersons and their families. Mark was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list 2012.
Andy served in the Parachute Regiment for over 25 years reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2). He has been on many operational deployments around the world including Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. In July 2006 in Afghanistan his right arm was totally shattered during the bitter and prolonged fighting at Musa Qaleh in Helmand province. Since then he has undergone extensive and multiple surgeries to repair his arm. He is an ardent supporter of Help for Heroes, taking part in bike rides, running the London marathon and raising awareness in his role as an ambassador.
Andy Stockton served with 32 Regiment Royal Artillery for 19 and a half years reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2. He served three tours of Northern Ireland, three tours in Iraq and lost his arm during an ambush by the Taliban in Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on 11th June 2006. He is a strong advocate of the support that Help for Heroes provides wounded personnel and veterans and is proud to support the charity in his role as an Ambassador.
Strictly Come Dancing professional, Amy Dowden, was keen to get involved with the Charity following her dance partnership with former Royal Marine and Help for Heroes Patron, JJ Chalmers, in the 2020 series of the show.
Amy, who lives with Crohn’s, sees many parallels between her own hidden disability and the struggles many of our veterans face.
“Every day I wake up with fatigue, pain, exhaustion, and I never know what the day ahead is going to be like. This is the same for so many who have had to leave the military due to injury or illness. You don’t magically get better – it’s an ongoing struggle.”
The professional dancer said “I’m extremely proud, grateful, honoured and thankful to become an Ambassador for Help for Heroes. With JJ, from the word go, he made it clear what the Charity has done for him, and continues to do. Through the entire Strictly journey with him, I could see the support that everyone connected to the Charity gave him. I’m really excited to help publicise Help for Heroes and the amazing work they do”.
Amy is also a proud Ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis UK which does incredible work supporting sufferers and their families, while also carrying out research. Like Help for Heroes, it is also one big family community.