Hero Bear is getting all grown up! On 13 August, our much-loved furry mascot will become a teenager. He can’t believe it’s been nearly 13 years since he first hopped on a bear-o-plane to Iraq with our co-founder Bryn Parry, to visit some of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces in the early days of the charity.
We caught up with him for a good old reminisce over tea and cake (his favourite). With so many of our recent fundraisers sadly cancelled, he’s really missed being out and about with our amazing supporters and can’t wait to see you all again soon. In the meantime, he hopes you enjoy this little trip down memory lane as much as he has. Plus, he’s really excited to tell you all about the birthday fundraiser he’s been busy organising!
Where it all bear-gan
They say bears have amazing memories, and Hero is no different. He has fond memories of his very first Big Battlefield Bike Ride back in 2008, hitching a cheeky lift on our co-founder Emma’s bike. Back then, Hero was a bit smaller, so he just about managed to get away with it.
Since then he’s gone on to scale some grizzly heights. He’s climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro and trekked through Peru and Jordan. In 2012, he even demonstrated his athletic prowess by running a race for charity mascots at the London Olympic Stadium, where he was unfortunately beaten into third place by a moose and a daffodil. He doesn’t like to talk about this very much.
Hero’s proudest moment was leading our Race Across America team of eight wounded veterans in 2017. He had raw paws for days after, but it was all worth it because nothing is more important to Hero than supporting our wounded heroes.
Fur-ever the professional
Being a charity mascot bears a lot of responsibility, and for Hero they didn’t come much bigger than the time he hosted a Bear-B-Q for HRH The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry at the opening of our Tedworth House Recovery Centre in 2013. Luckily he doesn’t get star-struck, in fact he bear-ly even noticed when Harry tried to steal his slice of cake!
Then there was the time he had afternoon tea with our patron James Blunt, which according to Hero ended in a fur-ocious dance-off. Sadly he doesn’t have pictures of that, but he does claim he had much better moves than James.
Missing his bear hugs
As much as Hero has enjoyed travelling the world supporting our amazing fundraisers since 2007, some of his fondest memories have been of helping out at our events up and down the country. Before lockdown he was a busy bear - he especially loved lending a paw at some of our national collection events and dishing our bear hugs to volunteers and supporters. Last year he even gave up his holiday to support our nationwide Tesco collection. He’s raring to get back out as soon as it’s safe to do, knowing our wounded veterans are relying on his pawsome fundraising power.
Our fundraising hero
Since the start of the lockdown, Hero has sadly been on furlough from his usual fundraising duties. Thankfully though, he’s a bit of an online whizz and has been putting his gaming skills to the test by taking part in our Hero Up gaming challenge. He’s even joined a few of the virtual get- we’ve been organising for veterans while our recovery centres remain closed. He thought about challenging Help for Heroes fan Bear Grylls to a virtual bear push-up challenge, but he was pretty sure the former SAS serviceman would beat him paws down so decided against it.
During lockdown, Hero has also been busy setting up his birthday fundraiser and says your support would be the best present he could possibly ask for this year.
Visit the Hero Bear fundraiser and donate to make his thirteenth birthday one to remember!