I was honoured to meet three truly amazing people from Help for Heroes (H4H) when they came to be part of the video for Not the Christmas Number 1.
I’d like to introduce you to Mark Lanchbery and his partner, Denise Elton. Mark used to be in the army, but he was discharged in July 2011. He has been on a very long road to recovery since being injured in the active service of our country in 2008.
I also met their friend, Kennett Facel, a young man from East London. Mark met Kennet in rehab following his time in Afghanistan. Kennett had been injured by an explosion in 2010 that took one of his eyes and severely damaged the other. He was blind when Mark first met him. Kennett is only 25.
But this isn’t a story of doom and gloom - far from it! It’s one of hope and positive action - and hopefully, it will encourage you to support the work of H4H - the phenomenal charity that Mark, Denise and Kennett represent.
Mark and Kennett are both part of the Band of Brothers – which is the H4H way of keeping in touch with those wounded, sick and injured and sharing with them the job offers, holidays and VIP invitations to sports matches/concerts they receive from a very supportive public. Members can also volunteer to attend fundraising events and be the very real face of the important work that H4H is known for. They joined us on a chilly day in central London to be part of Not the Christmas Number 1 andto represent those who will directly benefit from the sale of this charity single. Mark’s partner Denise is now also a part of H4H’s Band of Sisters - a support network for those who care for, and support their wounded Hero.
Mark said… “This charity song is absolutely fantastic! It’s so important to have companies such as Greggs supporting Help for Heroes and raising awareness. It’s also really nice for us to know that injured soldiers are being thought of - and that what we do is appreciated. Every penny raised for Help for Heroes goes directly to help people like us - and we can see where the money is being spent - and that’s on really practical stuff such as wheelchairs, rehab centres and all the equipment we need to get better as quickly as possible. And it all gets spent - nothing is left in the bank.
I met Kennett in rehab - and when I first met him he was blind. But thanks to his rehab he can now see a bit again. It’s absolutely terrific, to see him walking around again - and he’s got a smile back on his face.
Help for Heroes alsoprovides really important support for families - so that they feel cared for too. In the army, we go and do the job, but it’s the families at home that have to pick up the pieces when we get injured. And that’s where H4H’s Band of Sisters comes in. Those who were left at home can feel really isolated when their loved ones get injured.”
Kennett said… “Because I am still in rehab I get to see the impact of the work that Help for Heroes does. I see the difference it makes, every day. The rehab centre at Headley Court is always full and I’ve seen a lot of people benefitting. The reality is that more people will get injured - and the important thing is that the funds are there to help them with whatever they need; for life.
The fantastic rehab centre at Headley Court… the swimming pool… the important exercise equipment… it all helps to make recovery so much quicker - it helps to make people stronger and to start walking again.”
Denise said… “When Mark was first injured it took me a long time… in fact, I would say that I am only just accepting what happened. I recently joined the Band of Sisters because they support the families… the work they do is so important because it helps you to pick up the pieces as you have to live through it every day. You have to be as strong as they are… trying to accept their injury and helping them as they come out of the services and to try and start a normal life. It’s a very difficult road - and the work that Help for Heroes does is amazing. And so very important”
It was wonderful to meet Mark, Denise and Kennett - and extremely humbling. I do hope that you will be able to support the vital work of Help for Heroes by downloading Not the Christmas Number 1.
Every penny that goes to Help for Heroes will be spentproviding direct, practical support for our wounded, sick and injured Heroes and their loved ones.
Watch the video and then PRE-ORDER THE SONG NOW for just 99p!