This year a very special set of Help for Heroes Christmas cards were designed by two of our beneficiaries. After entering a competition run across the country, the winners, Victoria and Steve's designs were brought to life as part of our Christmas card range. The two designs will be sold to help raise more funds to support wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel, Veterans and their families.
Both Victoria and Steve attended the Art Therapy programme at Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick and have found art transformative in their recovery.
Victoria Wright created the Robin Red Breast design and Steve Burgess painted the Winter Stream.
Read on to find out about their stories or click here to buy a set of the cards.
Victoria’s partner joined the Light Dragoons in 2008, serving in Afghanistan, and was medically discharged in June 2017 after being diagnosed with PTSD:
“I got into painting following a visit to Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Catterick last Christmas. My partner took me into the art room which he uses as part of his recovery to relax him. I was dubious to start off as I didn't think I could draw or paint. But I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at what I created. I found it very relaxing myself and I have carried it on at home. Having a partner suffering from PTSD is hard for us both. Like many others I have found art very helpful, I am able to take my mind off things for a little while.
“Help for Heroes has been an amazing support for my partner and me. I honestly don't know where we would be today if it wasn't for them. I feel now I have my partner back, and in turn my family unit is getting stronger and stronger, and not forgetting happier. I see a smile on my partner’s face that I haven't seen in a long time.
"They have changed the huge negative into a positive and we cannot thank them enough. He now feels like he has a reason to live, a reason to move forward. I chose my robin design purely because they're my favourite birds and they're festive.
“Being able to have my painting on a Christmas card for Help for Heroes is a way for me to give something back for all the amazing things they have done for us.”
Steve served in the Army and was discharged after sustaining a spinal injury. Further surgery over the years has left him disabled and in chronic pain. After rehabilitation, Steve took up painting in watercolours and attended night classes at Banbridge College, where he excelled in landscape and still life styles.
In 2016 Steve was diagnosed with PTSD and clinical depression. Art serves as a release and therapy for Steve who paints highland stags, sunset landscapes and woodland scenes. Help for Heroes provided a grant to help him set up his studio and Steve has sold many paintings and is becoming an established artist in County Down.
Steve says: "This card is a small contribution to support Veterans with different needs on their way to recovery from physical and mental wounds.”