Catterick Garrison primary school joins forces with military charities

Le Cateau School in Catterick Garrison has joined forces with Help for Heroes and Walking With The Wounded for this year’s Walking Home for Christmas campaign.

The charities have called on people across the country to put their best foot forward to raise much-needed cash to help veterans and their families – simply by going for a walk.

And one of the first to pledge its support was Le Cateau School.

With 375 of its near-500 pupils coming from military families, headteacher Ian Mottram has dedicated the school’s final ‘daily mile’ walk of the term to Walking Home for Christmas and will combine it with the annual Christmas jumper day as a fundraising event for the cause.

“A few of our pupils have Dads who have been, or are being, supported by Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick so we are aware of the good work done by Help for Heroes,” said Mr Mottram.

“Walking Home for Christmas is an ideal concept for schools to link into. Our children really benefit from a 15-minute power walk around the school grounds at the start of each day.

“For some, it’s an opportunity to burn off excess energy; others become less lethargic in the fresh air; while some enjoy chatting to staff in an informal setting. By the time they go into the classroom, they are more settled and focused.”

Le Cateau’s participation will take place on Thursday, December 20 when parents will also be invited to take part.

Help for Heroes mascot, Hero Bear, will start off the walk at 9.15am and welcome everyone back at the end, and staff from Phoenix House will be on site with collecting buckets.

Melanie Dickinson, Help for Heroes’ manager of recovery at Phoenix House, said the charity was delighted to have the support of a local school and hoped others might do likewise.

“Le Cateau is leading the way and it would be fantastic if others follow in their footsteps,” she said.

“By creating your own fundraising walk between December 13 to 23 you can give hope to veterans who have little to look forward to this Christmas and have walked in far more dangerous places for us.

“Whether you walk home from work one day, walk to visit a relative you’ve not seen for a while, or simply stroll around your local park or playground with friends, you will be helping raise money for those veterans at risk, including those who are unemployed or struggling with their mental health.

“And it’s easy to get involved – just log on to www.walkinghomeforchristmas.com and register for your fundraising pack.”

The campaign is supported by British fashion and homeware retailer Matalan and backed by BAFTA award winning documentary maker and former EastEnders star Ross Kemp who said:

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the men and women who risk their own lives to make Britain – and the world – a safer place for us all.

“Yet when they return, people in the Armed Forces often struggle to adapt to civilian life – and rarely get the heroes’ welcome they deserve.

“They may find themselves alone, struggling to find work – or even a home – and many are also struggling with their mental health after witnessing scenes in battle that you or I cannot imagine.

“But just by going for a walk in the run-up to Christmas, you can raise money that is essential to help these brave men and women who have risked their own lives thousands of miles from home.”

Help for Heroes and Walking With The Wounded have been working together to deliver recovery programmes since 2012. They will split all funds raised from this year’s campaign to pay for vital support for veterans at risk. For example:

  • £150could pay for a one-day employment course.
  • £300could pay for mentoring support to start up a business.
  • £675is the average cost to receive 12 mental health therapy sessions.

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