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Help for Heroes

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Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes
Abbreviation H4H
Formation 2007
Type Charity
Purpose Supporting wounded British Armed Forces servicemen and women
Headquarters Downton (near Salisbury), Wiltshire
Region served United Kingdom
Official language English
Chief Executive Officer Bryn Parry (co-founder)

Help for Heroes (H4H) is a British charity launched on 1 October 2007 to help provide better facilities for British servicemen and women who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty.[1] It was founded by Bryn Parry OBE and his wife Emma Parry OBE after they visited soldiers at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham. The charity was launched after a meeting with General Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army.[2]

H4H has attracted high-profile trustees and patrons and has the support of the Army Benevolent Fund and the Ministry of Defence.[3] It has also attracted support from national newspapers in the United Kingdom, such as The Sun[4][5] and The Sunday Times who made it one of the beneficiaries of their Christmas appeal in 2007, raising a total of £674,000 for H4H.[6]


Help for Heroes was co-founded by Bryn Parry and his wife Emma Parry, and launched on 1 October 2007. He had served with the Royal Green Jackets for ten years before leaving to become a cartoonist. The couple visited Selly Oak hospital where they met injured servicemen and women in July 2007 and decided they needed to do something to help.[7] Bryn and Emma Parry were both invested with the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for their services to charity on 25 November 2010.[8]

In May 2013 Help for Heroes hit the headlines when British soldier Lee Rigby was murdered by Islamists in Woolwich, London. Rigby had been wearing a Help for Heroes hooded jumper when he was killed, and the charity received over £600,000 in donations in the week following the attack.[9][10]

Fundraising activities

Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows

H4H keeps a "running total" on its website which is updated weekly with the total amount raised, which in April 2009 stood at over £19M. In February 2010, H4H had raised £40M. In June 2011, the charity announced that it had raised £100m in under four years. As at September 2012, the figure was £200 million.[11]

Help for Heroes Challenges

H4H offers challenges including bike rides in Europe - the Big Battlefield Bike Ride in May 2008 was the inaugural H4H challenge where 300 cyclists biked from the HMS Victory at Portsmouth. The group then cycled through Northern France, tracing some of the region's most significant First World War and Second World War battle sites, and returned to London, which raised £1 million. There have been 5 further bike rides and they are considered one of the charity's main challenges. Supporters also take part in a wide variety of other challenges too, such as treks through Nepal and the Sahara Desert, various marathons from London to Barcelona, the chance to climb Kilimanjaro and 2 one day challenges; a New Forest Bike Ride and a 26 mile walk from Avebury to Stonehenge.

In Support of Help for Heroes Events

On 5 September 2008 H4H held a "Heroes Ball" to raise funds. A charity auction included an RAF donated prize to fly with the Red Arrows, the RAF's Aerobatics Team. The winning bid was £1.5M, which gave the winner, Julie Heselden, the chance for her and eight family members to fly in the display Hawk jets. The RAF said of the bid, "We know it is a special prize -- a once in a lifetime opportunity -- but we are all astounded that someone could be so generous. The RAF is genuinely delighted to have helped in raising such a fantastic amount of money for such a worthwhile charity."[12]

City Salute

The charity was a joint beneficiary of the "City Salute"[13] held on 8 May 2008 in London, hosted by patron of the charity Jeremy Clarkson and attended by Princes William and Harry who are both members of the armed services.[14]

Sporting challenges

On 20 September 2008, Twickenham Stadium hosted a challenge rugby union match featuring rugby players from around the world which raised £1.1m and was televised live. The match featured a "Help for Heroes XV" and an "International Select XV". Former England captains, Phil de Glanville and Lawrence Dallaglio acted as team manager and captain respectively for the H4H XV with Welsh rugby players, Ieuan Evans and Scott Gibbs filling the same roles for the International Select XV. The teams, included players from the Guinness Premiership, National Division One, the Magners League, overseas players and players from the Armed Forces.

The Help for Heroes XV won the match 29-10 in front of a crowd of 52,254 which included The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.[15] Performing at the event were the Band of the Royal Hospital School, Blake, Escala and the Royal Marines Commandos abseil team.[16]

A second rugby match, 'The Heroes Rugby Challenge' was be played on 3 December 2011 at Twickenham Stadium.[17] The match will feature Lawrence Dallaglio, Jason Leonard and Ieuan Evans managing the H4H Northern Hemisphere XV against a Southern Hemisphere team, coached by Wayne Smith and Nick Mallett and overseen by Michael Lynagh and Sean Fitzpatrick.[18]

On 12 November 2009, a football match was held at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, Berkshire, between an England XI team and a Rest of the World XI team, playing for the Heroes Cup. Both teams comprised ex-professional footballers, other sportspersons and celebrities, and footballing members of the Armed Forces. The match was broadcast live on ITV4 and BFBS, and was commentated on by Peter Dury and Joe Royle. The Rest of the World beat England 4-1.

The X Factor charity single

On 15 October 2010, it was revealed that the finalists of the seventh series of The X Factor finalists would be recording a version of David Bowie's 1977 song "Heroes". The song was released in aid of H4H and the Royal British Legion.[19] All sixteen finalists of Series 7 performed the song on 20 November 2010's results show.[20] In the first week of its release, it went straight to number 1 and sold 313,244 copies, more than the rest of the top ten at the time combined.[21]

British chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced he would effectively waive VAT on the single, this will be achieved by donating the value of the VAT that will be paid on the single to the charity. He said "I very much support the Help for Heroes campaign and I support too the efforts being made by the X Factor contestants, and in recognition of that I am proposing effectively to waive VAT on this sale of these singles." and "We will do that by making a donation equivalent to the value of the VAT to the fund." He stated this in response to a question from Karen Buck.[22]

Convoy for Heroes

At Easter 2011, the first Convoy for Heroes event took place at Land Rover enthusiasts, Convoy for Heroes took the form of a world-record breaking convoy of 348 Land Rovers, including SAS 'Pink Panther' Land Rovers, and several SAS troops themselves. A second Convoy for Heroes event was held over the Easter 2012, this time at the larger Prestwold Hall site in Leicestershire.[23] The next event is planned for Easter 2013 again at Prestwold Hall. So far, over £25,000 has been raised by Convoy for Heroes.

4x4 European Rally

The Help for Heroes 4x4 European Rally[24] is an annual event that takes place in June. The event has raised over £500,000 for the charity. Starting in England, it covers 2000 miles and seven countries in twelve days, visiting World War I and II battlefields and museums. It is open to 45 teams of road-legal off-road vehicles, with at least two drivers per team.

Hot Shots Calendar

Since 2009 the arms firm Edgar Brothers has produced a promotional calendar, the Hot Shots Calendar, featuring glamour models.[25] Fifty per cent of the money made from sales of the calendar and associated products goes to various UK and US military charities including Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Help for Heroes.[26]


The trustees are:[27]

  • Hadyn Parry, Chairman of Trustees - Life science entrepreneur.
  • Alex Scott-Barret - chartered accountant and formerly at Cazenove City Investment bank.
  • Sir Robert Fry KCB, CBE - Vice President at Hewlett Packard who previously had a military career and is a fellow at Oxford University.
  • Richard Constant MBE - Former Royal Green Jackets officer and current CEO of Gavin Anderson, a Global communications consulting firm
  • Stephen Oxley - Senior partner of Wilsons solicitors LLP
  • Steve Harman - A Vice President of Shell
  • Alex Northcott - a non-executive director of Gorkana Group and is currently involved in the media industry.
  • His Honour Judge Jeff Blackett - Judge Advocate General
  • Tony Schofield - a Partner in the Consulting division of Deloitte, the world's largest privately owned professional services firm.
  • Rod Dunn - a former Royal Marines Officer and Royal Navy Medical Officer who is now a Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgeon at the Odstock Centre for Burns Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery at Salisbury Hospital.


The patrons are:[28]

Hero patrons
Founder patrons


Help for Heroes was awarded the Support to the Armed Forces award during the 2008 Sun Military Awards, "For a civilian, a civil servant, a contractor or just an ordinary member of the public, who has provided invaluable help to the Armed Forces".


In August 2012 a group of wounded ex-servicemen quoted in a report for the BBC's Newsnight criticised Help for Heroes for its relationship to the Ministry of Defence. More specifically the criticism was levelled because of the charity's decision to use funds to subsidise expensive MOD buildings rather than for soldiers' everyday care. The charity has agreed to spend £153 million on constructing and running five regional MOD Personnel Recovery Centres, primarily for serving military personnel, which discharged servicemen can only use on a case-by-case basis.[30][31] A subsequent investigation by the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit into the original Newsnight report upheld the charity's complaint about the programme and concluded that "there was no evidence to back Newsnight's claim about Help for Heroes".[32]


  1. ^ "Help for Heroes - At A Glance". Help for Heroes. 2007–2009. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Help for Heroes". Mr. D L. 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  3. ^ "MOD welcomes Help for Heroes charity".  
  4. ^ "Some gave all. All gave some".  
  5. ^ "Help for Heroes - Supported by The Sun".  
  6. ^ "Christmas appeal raises £1.2m".  
  7. ^ "Shooting Politics, episode 12, 20 January 2010". Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Family affair became £50m charity".  
  9. ^ Help For Heroes donations surge after machete murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich | UK | News | Daily Express
  10. ^ Donations of £600,000 made to Help for Heroes since murder of soldier
  11. ^ "Help for Heroes Running Totals". Help for Heroes. Archived from the original on 10 June 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  12. ^ Joseph, John (8 September 2008). "Briton pays 1.5 million pounds to fly with Red Arrows".  
  13. ^ "City Salute". City Salute 2008. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  14. ^ "Princes attend forces spectacle". BBC News (BBC). 8 May 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  15. ^ "Johnson's Heroes win charity game". BBC news. 20 September 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  16. ^ "Help for Heroes Challenge Match - Saturday 20th September 2008". Help for Heroes. Retrieved 5 November 2008. 
  17. ^ "Heroes Rugby Challenge 2011". Heroes Rugby Challenge. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "Heroes Rugby Challenge Teams". Heroes Rugby Challenge. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "X Factor: finalists cover David Bowie for charity".  
  20. ^ "Simon backs Heroes".  
  21. ^ "X Factor single tops UK charts". BBC News ( 
  22. ^ Summers, Deborah (30 October 2008). "Darling gives X Factor charity song VAT boost".  
  23. ^ "Convoy for Heroes 2012". Convoy for Heroes. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "Help for Heroes 4x4 European Rally". Help for Heroes European Rally. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  25. ^ "FAQs". Hot Shots Calendar. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  26. ^ "Hot Shots Calendar Selects SSD As Exclusive Media Partner". Soldier Systems: an industry daily. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "Help for Heroes Trustees". Help for Heroes. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  28. ^ "Help for Heroes Patrons". Help for Heroes. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  29. ^ Driscoll, Margaret (2 December 2007). "Clarkson’s hero - How Jeremy Clarkson’s outrage over a wounded soldier led to this year’s Sunday Times Christmas appeal".  
  30. ^ "Help for Heroes patron criticises 'cosy' MoD links". Daily Telegraph. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  31. ^ Stickler, Angus (9 August 2012). "Help for Heroes and MoD criticised by injured troops". BBC. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  32. ^ "BBC apologises for Newsnight Help for Heroes report". BBC. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Official shop website
  • Heroes Rugby Challenge website
  • Help for Heroes, Registered Charity no. 1120920 at the Charity Commission
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