Volunteers wanted to help raise money for Help for Heroes

Volunteers are wanted to help raise money for Help for Heroes at Tesco in Catterick Garrison.

The supermarket and  charity have launched an urgent appeal to people in Richmondshire to volunteer a couple of hours in store to fundraise on June 26 and 27.

The fundraising initiative across Tesco’s National Collection Weekend coincides with Armed Forces Day on June 26.

Tesco and Help for Heroes are marking the occasion by encouraging people to show their support to wounded veterans and their families who’ve been impacted by injury or illness sustained while serving their country in the British Armed Forces.

Help for Heroes relies on the generosity of the public for the majority of its funding and saw a loss of approximately 75 per cent to its income from national collections during 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Wil Atkinson-Browning, now a home delivery driver for the Tesco in Catterick Garrison, joined the British Army in 1990 and served a total of 24 years until being medically discharged in 2018.

Throughout his career, Wil was deployed to Northern Ireland, Sierra Leon, and Afghanistan, but primarily worked In London and Windsor, including The Queen’s Birthday Parade and Trooping the Colour.

Following his time in the forces, Wil was unfortunately diagnosed with bilateral noise induced hearing loss, which resulted in him requiring hearing aids, as well as complex PTSD for which he received therapy and counselling for.

Wil is an amputee, not through conflict but due to having a rare medical condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome which resulted in the loss of part of his left forearm and left hand.

He said: “Help for Heroes has always been there to support me.

“My main hobby is road cycling, I was part of the support crew for the race across America in 2017 when the Help for Heroes team completed the event in six days, 12 hours and 36 minutes, it was an experience I was lucky to be a part of.”

He added: “I am now fortunate that Tesco has given me the opportunity as a home delivery driver to show that there is ability over disability and they have seen the individual, not the disability.”

Help for Heroes is continuing to run activities online from photography courses to Pilates and is now expanding its face-to-face outdoor sessions around Catterick for wounded veterans including road cycling, fly fishing, paddle sports, open water swimming and surfing.

Gemma Manders, Store Manager at Tesco Catterick Garrison, said “As lockdown restrictions ease, we are pleased to be able to launch the National Collection Weekend and support the incredible work of Help for Heroes.

“We hope as many people as possible from Richmond will get involved across the weekend and take this fun opportunity to reconnect with others, while making a difference supporting those who are wounded or injured as a result of service.

“As always, the health and safety of our colleagues, customers and volunteers is our top priority.

“We will continue to monitor the government guidance on Covid-19 closely and ensure all the necessary guidelines are followed at the time of the collections on June 26 and 27.”

Tesco and Help for Heroes are asking any willing volunteers to register at //h4hweb.com/tesco or contact the Help for Heroes Campaigns team on 0300 303 9888 or campaigns@helpforheroes.org.uk.