Sunday, 17th January 2010

H4H New Years letter....

Dear H4H Supporter, A new year is always daunting as we face the challenges of the next twelve months and, with doom and gloom in the news and freezing weather, it is sometimes hard to look forward with eager anticipation.


However, there is so much that is good going on that we can feel optimistic and full of determination, regardless of the snow.

It is now more than two and a half years since Emma suggested that we should ‘do something to help the wounded’.

We launched Help for Heroes on 1st October 2007 with the intention of raising some money to help build a swimming pool at Headley Court. A simple appeal, but it was heard across the country and millions of people have joined us in this extraordinary effort to support our Armed Forces.

The swimming pool became a superb Rehabilitation Complex, which will be operational in April this year, but our tasks did not end there. Millions have been raised and millions spent on the direct, practical support of our wounded and at the same time.The public has openly demonstrated its support for the men and women of our Armed Forces; it has been inspirational.

As parents of a young Rifles Officer, Emma and I know what it is like to hear on the news that another soldier has been killed. Each time we hear that, we know that there will be others wounded; some with life changing injuries, some of them friends.

Visiting the badly wounded at Selly Oak and Headley Court is very hard, war is brutal and many of the injuries are horrific. A mother told me she was ‘fine’, it’s not true; her son has lost his legs, so how can she be ‘fine’? She means she is coping, grateful that he is alive and very grateful for the care he is getting but there is no getting away from the fact that his, and her life, has changed forever.

It is not fine; it is grim and we feel desperate when we have these conversations, desperate to do something to help. With H4H we are helping and there is hope. It is two and a half years since we first went to Selly Oak and we are seeing those who we first met there get back on their feet, both on prosthetics and metaphorically.

We are seeing blokes who had no hope, running, climbing, skiing and swimming, looking to the future and most importantly, smiling and laughing. We, all of us who have been a part of the H4H phenomenon share a little part of that, and we have helped put those smiles back and that gives us hope.

We understand that these dreadful injuries occur, we can’t stop that, but we can do our bit to ensure that those injured get the very best chance at a good future. The wounded boys and girls don’t want our pity, they want opportunity, they want to get on with their lives and we want to enable that.

We are working closely with the Armed Forces and other service charities and organisations to create a recovery pathway, a process where the wounded servicemen or women follow a programme that equips them with skills and opportunities for life. We will be funding the Personnel Recovery Centres and other initiatives along the pathway to give them the very best chance to launch back into the rest of their lives. They deserve the very best and we will do all in our power to ensure they get it.

Happy New Year everyone and let’s make it a real cracker!

Thank you


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