It was rolling pins at dawn for five beneficiaries at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Chavasse VC House this week as they prepared to do battle in a much anticipated bake off.
The injured heroes were getting in some practice ahead of the national Bake for Heroes fundraiser which begins on 16 April – 2 May and they certainly meant business! On the menu was a basic Victoria sponge recipe but rules allowed freedom to interpret in any way they wanted; cue colourful creations and deconstructed delights!
For veteran Ben Roberts, attending events like the bake off at Chavasse House are a lifeline as he works through his mental health difficulties.
Ben said: “Chavasse is my safe haven. When I am here, I can express myself. When you are low someone will talk to you. They understand how you are feeling. It has changed my life”
Ben served with 1st battalion, the Anglian Regiment and saw tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He helped the medical officers with causalities, picked up the children who had been blown up and helped to carry the body bags. It was a job that no one would wish to do but Ben is quick to say that “someone had to do it”.
Ben struggled to deal with his low moods and symptoms of PTSD but finds the opportunities that Help for Heroes offer are building his confidence. Ben chose to deconstruct his Victoria sponge, adding in a generous helping of blueberries into the mix and won Best Texture for his efforts.
Fellow Band of Brother Paul Barnsley was crowned Champion Cake Baker and winner of Best Presentation with his classic Victoria sponge, whilst newly joined H4H beneficiary David Kelley who was visiting the Colchester Recovery Centre for the first time, won Best Taste.
David said of his visit (and baptism of fire): “I really enjoyed the 'Bake Off' it was a huge laugh and I was chuffed for winning the best tasting cake, especially as I had not baked a cake before…I look forward to many more visits, and will be looking out for future activities I can take part in.”
If you would like to get involved in Bake for Heroes yourself and raise funds to support our wounded, injured and sick men and women of the Armed Forces then please visit www.bakeforheroes.org.uk to register your event.