Heroes honoured at Hemel Hempstead Tesco Extra this Armed Forces Day

Help for Heroes provides lifelong recovery support to service personnel who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 1:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 1:36 pm

Help for Heroes volunteers will be in Tesco Extra in Hemel Hempstead this weekend for the charity's first national collection, and to mark Armed Forces Day.

Armed Forces Day (June 26) is an opportunity for people to show gratitude and appreciation for the men and women who make up the armed forces community, from current serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets.

Help for Heroes provides lifelong recovery support to service personnel who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty, and to their families. Volunteers will be at the store on Jarman Way, on Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27.

Barrie is promoting the charity’s first national collection since the pandemic began at Tesco stores nationwide, including the Hemel Hempstead store
Barrie is promoting the charity’s first national collection since the pandemic began at Tesco stores nationwide, including the Hemel Hempstead store

RAF veteran Barrie Griffiths, 59, from Hertfordshire, is an Ambassador for Help for Heroes and is a passionate advocate for issues affecting the armed forces community.

He said: “After such a difficult year, it is great that we can once again be welcomed into Tesco stores to raise money for veterans with mental or psychological injuries.

“It’s exciting that our volunteers are able to fundraise in person again, and we hope that anyone in Hemel Hempstead on 26 or 27 June remembers those who have been wounded as a result of serving their country by popping into the Tesco store on Jarman Way and donating as much, or as little, as they can. Every pound can make a genuine difference.”

Like the majority of the charity’s fundraising initiatives last year, the Tesco National Collection for Help for Heroes had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus, so this year’s event is an important one to help in reducing the shortfall in its income.

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.

Barrie has worked with the Veterans’ Advisory Pension Committee which champions the Armed Forces Covenant to ensure veterans’ issues remain at the forefront of government policymaking.

The work is not only rewarding but gives him the opportunity to engage with the local community, elected councillors and government officials helping to improve access to services and the lives of our veterans.

He said: “Some of our wounded, injured and sick veterans are often ground down by their injuries and problems and the challenges of navigating and accessing the welfare and support systems.

“My job in the military when I served, was to look after the guys and my role is no different now. The opportunity to help make other people’s lives better is what motivates me.”

Much of Barrie’s determination to ensure military veterans get the support they need comes from a desire that they do not have the same struggles he experienced.

In 2003, whilst carrying heavy equipment on a loaded march, he felt something shift in his back. Barrie suffered a spinal prolapse which compressed his spinal cord.

He continued serving, but after 12 years was medically discharged from the British Armed Forces in 2015 and eventually turned to Help for Heroes for support.

“I’m forever grateful to Help for Heroes for allowing me to strip back the trappings and burdens of expectation and focus on me – that was when my recovery really began,” he added.

Anyone who would like to donate to support our Heroes on Armed Forces Day but is unable to visit a Tesco store can still donate here.

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