Help for Heroes is making a final appeal to recruit volunteers in East London to help raise funds for Veterans at Tesco stores.
Tesco’s National Collection Weekend will be held on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August. Bethnal Green, Bow and Canary Wharf are all areas which remain short on volunteers.
Tesco founder, Jack Cohen, set up his first market stall 100 years ago using his demob money after seeing active service during the First World War. As a result, Tesco has been a committed supporter of the charity.
Claire McHenry, National Campaigns Manager at Help for Heroes, explains: “As the British Armed Forces are not currently involved in active conflict, veterans’ needs are less top of mind than they used to be. However, every day seven individuals are medically discharged from the Armed Forces through either physical or mental issues attributable to their service. That’s over 2,450 lives that fundamentally changed last year alone.”
In 2003, while carrying heavy gear on a loaded march, Barrie Griffiths suffered a spinal prolapse which compressed his spinal cord.
He continued to serve for 12 years but was medically discharged in 2015 after 34 years of service in the Royal Air Force.
He was introduced to Help for Heroes by his military psychiatrist after the mental and physical strain of service led to him alienating friends and family.
The 56-year-advocate told East London Lines: “I just couldn’t cope. when I got injured like that, I was a big tough leader of men reduced to this.
He continued: “I didn’t realise I was ill, you don’t know your mental health is in deterioration, you just think you’re becoming a bad person. A lot of people need help but don’t even recognise it.”
Barrie is actively involved in the Help for Heroes cricket team. It was while he was playing for the team that he was approached to become a Help for Heroes advocate.
Since then Barrie said that Help for Heroes had “invigorated” his life. He told East London Lines: “PTSD is not just always just one event, there are all sorts of underlying issues. People of my generation struggle to admit they need help.
You help with bucket collections by registering at h4hweb.com/tesco or contacting the Help for Heroes Campaigns team on 0300 303 9888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.