News / BoB BoS North Updates
Tuesday 30 May 2017

BoB BoS North Updates

Posted by Help For Heroes

Northern Ireland | Alex's Update

On 2 May, 25 BoB/BoS enjoyed a tasty lunch in Portstewart and took in the stunning view of a clear blue sky and sparkling ocean. The North Coast gang are always a good laugh and this lunch was no exception. Thanks to all of those that attended. I am looking forward to my next trip to that neck of the woods – certainly before the Portrush Air Show in September.

12 of us took on the mighty Pirate Adventure Golf on 6 May at Dundonald. The day was great fun, especially when the competitive side came out, and it was rather lovely to enjoy an outdoor activity without a coat! Congratulations to Terry who had the lowest overall score, even though he nearly lost the golf ball to the river!

The Fellowship Photography Project had a glorious outing to Oxford Island on 11 May. The weather and scenery was splendid, with the birdlife (and flies!) out in full force. The group also enjoyed their second photography tutorial at the photography studio on 18 May, where it is evident that members’ photography skills and confidence continue to flourish.

I travelled over to Phoenix House for the week of 15-19. As mentioned in the previous month’s edition of Bandstand, visiting a Recovery Centre really is very beneficial. I enjoyed catching up with my colleagues and picking their brains for event ideas.

Plans are underway for events in June, please do keep an eye on your emails for more details.

Scotland | Gerry's update

I am starting to find my feet with May having been a very busy month so far! I was down in Phoenix House for some training and managed to find some fellow BoB/BoS North Team Coordinators in the woodworking room! 

Stand Easy is a charity that works with Veterans with mental health issues such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. It forms a part of their recovery process through the use of drama. The Veterans work with actors and a theatre and film director to build skills and create a performance.

The play deals with the transition from service to civilian life, the difficulties and barriers to normal life that this creates – particularly where mental health issues are involved.

The opening night performance was held on Friday 19 May with the group taking the performance out to a number of Community Centres in the Dundee area. Two of our Band of Brothers were involved – Billy Girdwood and Jim Kettles – and what a powerful and moving performance they put on.

Following the project, Stand Easy will continue to support participants by arranging meetings, theatre visits and walks or other activities.

Help for Heroes Volunteer Andrew Bain opened his gardens up for the weekend so people could come and have a look around and see the beautiful display of Rhododendrons for a small donation to Help for Heroes. The weather was not kind however and certainly gave the gardens a good watering all weekend! There were refreshments provided together with strawberries and cream to enhance the enjoyment of the gardens and luckily there was a marquee to rest and take cover from the elements!

There were a number of BoB and BoS attending in their Volunteer roles and Jocky Johnston, Alex and Doreen Hornall together with BoB and H4H Ambassador David Dent were brilliant with informing visitors about H4H and speaking of their own recovery stories. Even though the weather was responsible for a lower turn out than had been hoped it looks as if there will be between £1,000-£2,000 raised for H4H over the weekend!

A group of 10 BoB and BoS were treated to a petrol head spectacular of super cars and although the rain was continually pouring throughout the day the bad weather did not spoil the enjoyment of watching a 904 BHP McLaren PI race around the runway or seeing static displays including a Lamborghini Aventador SV and some magnificent superbikes.  There was drag racing, an array of activities, refreshments and displays for all to enjoy.  Many thanks to Performance Portfolio for the entrance tickets and refreshments.

Future Events

  • Monday 12 or Tuesday 13 June (TBC) - Pamper/Therapy Taster Session - Inverness
  • Thursday 15 June (TBC) - Pamper/Therapy Taster Session – Glasgow
  • Saturday 15 July - Family Clan Games – Scottish Military Museum, Edinburgh

A number of events are also being planned as we speak and will be sent out with the details via email soon. Eventually there will be a large calendar of events up and running over the year including family days, activities, pamper and wellbeing, crafts and sports. Plans are well under way so please look out for them and if there are any that appeal to you then do get in touch.

I am very excited to be given this opportunity to support everyone and if you have any ideas/suggestions or any questions then do let me know. If I can help with anything please do get in touch and if I can’t help then I will be able to signpost onto someone who will.  

My contact details are:

Email: gerry.mcgregor@helpforheroes.org.uk

It has really been great starting to get out and about meeting as many of Scotland's BoB and BoS members as I can all over the country and in the meantime I hope to see you at something in the near future!

North East | Harriet's update

This month has been a month of planning and preparation ready for the summer ahead. We have been inspired by the glorious sunshine and lovely flowers. May has brought some epic achievements in the North East, including numerous bikes rides and fundraising for Help for Heroes.

MacAvalanche is an epic three-stage Enduro race that takes place annually on the Glencoe Mountain in Scotland. The final stage is a mass start – this year involving 340 participants – from above the snowline. The less snow there is, the higher the cyclists have to climb with their bikes in order to start.

Anita Bartram, one of our amazing Band of Brothers, completed the mass-start endurance race, known as MacAvalanche, down the snow-capped Glencoe in Scotland as a member of a Help for Heroes team of wounded, injured and sick Veterans and Service Personnel. Not only that, she was the only female team member and, at 54, the oldest too.

We had a lovely breakfast in Marmadukes in Sheffield at the end of the month. What a lovely, breakfast, and to top it off - we didn’t have to do any of the washing up! We were joined by some great company and our Outreach officer Caronne also popped in, she says it was for work but I think it was the food.

The three Band of Brothers who took on the Challenge to ride form John O’Groats to Land’s End made their way through Scotland to Newcastle where one of the riders had a surprise meeting with his boyhood hero before setting off on day ten of the epic journey.

Former Royal Engineer Steve Craddock grew up in Newcastle and is a lifelong fan of the city's football club. Knowing this, Help for Heroes asked Newcastle Utd if a representative could wave off the trio as they left the City Hall en route for Phoenix House Recovery Centre. Amazingly, the person who agreed to go was none other than Steve's favourite player - Bobby Moncur, a popular member of the team in the 60s and 70s.

"I love him! He was my hero - I wanted to kiss him when I saw him," said Steve.

He is joined on the challenge by Naval veteran Lee Patmore and retired Royal Marine Brian Kilgannon to raise funds for Help for Heroes in support of their wounded comrades.

They have been working their way down the county visiting every recovery centre along the way soon to finish their triumphant ride.

North West | Kevin's update

Have you ever been invited to fish and you know absolutely nothing about fishing?

BoB/BoS were invited to an event staged by the Masonic fishing club in Carnforth.

The event was attend by five BoBs. We all had our own personal instructor and refreshments were provided for the full day. The BoBs really enjoyed the day and have all expressed an interest to fish more and get involved in the charity fish aspect offered by the Masonic charity.

Fellowships meetings increasing and more engagers

We have held a few fellowship meetings in the North West this month. Really pleased to see new faces at every event. The events are really informal and it’s an opportunity to talk to other veterans, have a brew and some cake.

Preston Drop in Clinic

This month I looked at different opportunities to meet BoB/BoS. The whole day was very successful and I will be rolling them out in different areas in the North West next month.

The drop in clinic gives you the opportunity to come and chat with me on a 1-2-1 basis for 30 mins and we can discuss anything, or just come in for a brew.

Final thoughts

It’s been a great month meeting so many BoB/BoS, hearing their stories and taking their feedback on how we can develop our fellowship in the North West.

I am hoping to roll out a couple of evening events next month,  to enable anybody that works to attend the catch ups.

If you need any support, please email me.

Back to Bandstand