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Stepping out for Help for Heroes

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Help for Heroes is hoping keen walkers everywhere will flock to the picturesque Malvern Hills, in September, for the 10th Malvern Hills Challenge – sponsored by Malvern College – to help the armed forces charity fund its essential support services for veterans nationwide.

Taking in scenic parts of Worcestershire and Herefordshire, the challenge offers a choice of walks – across either nine or 18km – and is an annual fundraiser for the Charity, which helps wounded veterans and their families recover and get on with their lives, with little government funding.

The two routes offer spectacular views and historic landmarks, as they take in the very best of the area, combining some tough gradients with relaxing flats, through picturesque woods and open grazing, all on clearly marked tracks and lanes.

The Malvern Hills Challenge was conceived by a small team of veterans who wanted to ‘give back’ to colleagues and friends who had been injured in the course of their service. Help for Heroes – whose CEO, Melanie Waters, will once again participate in the challenge – had just been established and was raising funds ‘for the blokes’ and specifically to improve the rehabilitation centre at Headley Court, where some of the veterans had themselves received help.

The current organising team is a mix of veterans and military families, many of whom are also active Help for Heroes volunteers. The reasons for supporting the charity remain the same, all these years later: raising funds to support wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women so they have the best possible lives they can.

Last year’s event was, understandably, lost to COVID, as the Charity’s annual fundraising was reduced by around 75 p during 2020. For 2021, organisers and volunteers are hoping to see extra numbers as people appreciate the opportunity to get out and about after a testing year.

Event organiser Gordon Waddell said: “Walk it, jog it or run it at your own pace and enjoy the euphoria of succeeding and experiencing the Malvern Hills Challenge, while helping to raise funds for a very worthwhile cause. Participants may register as an individual or with friends, family or work colleagues and organise a team. Dogs are also more than welcome. If you would really like to make a difference, please support us through our Just Giving links and raise additional funds for Help for Heroes along the way.”

Help for Heroes’ Area Fundraising Manager, Dean Williams, added: “This is, obviously, a challenging time for all charities, but we remain absolutely committed to our wounded and their families, and to maintain that we continue to rely on the generosity of the great British public.

“And enjoyable fundraisers like the Malvern Hills Challenge, in glorious countryside, are a fabulous way for the public to help and to get a feel for what we are doing in the community. We appreciate hugely the time and effort of both the volunteers who have organised the event and those who are taking part.”

During the pandemic, the Charity increased its community and online-based support, remaining agile in its delivery, according to changing restrictions. Since launching, in 2007, it has supported almost 27,000 veterans, service personnel and family members.

Now in its 14th year, Help for Heroes supports those with injuries and illnesses sustained while serving in the British Armed Forces. No matter when someone served, the Charity gives them the support they need to lead active, independent, and fulfilling lives.

Specialist teams focus on the five key areas of an individual’s life: medical, mind, body, spirit, and family. Help for Heroes provides support to the whole family to help them all cope with the challenges they face. Long-term recovery is more than repairing damaged bodies and minds: it’s about rebuilding lives.

For further details about the Malvern Hills Challenge or to register visit malvernhillschallenge.org or email malvernhillschallenge@gmail.com.

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