MONEY raised at this year’s Wings & Wheels airshow at Dunsfold Park near Cranleigh will help build a series of Army Recovery Centres across the UK.
Help for Heroes chief of staff Mark Elliott, accompanied by soldiers who have been seriously injured on active duty and undergone intensive treatment at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court near Epsom, made a special visit to the airfield on Wednesday to thank Dunsfold Park Ltd and local people for raising £20,000 for the charity.
Dunsfold Park also treated its visiting heroes to lunch and an afternoon watching the next Top Gear programme being filmed on the test track and in the studio.
“Thank you very much for this donation,” said Mr Elliott. “Every penny we receive goes towards what is necessary to support our wounded soldiers.
“It will go towards our next big project, which is to build up to seven recovery centres as part of the welfare pathway to provide further rehabilitation for soldiers after they leave Headley Court.
“We are working with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the public for the benefit of these remarkable young men and women who need our help now.
“They will be built in super garrisons as directed by the MoD and there will be one in Aldershot. The first one in Edinburgh was opened by the head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, in August.”
H4H has just raised £8m to build a new rehabilitation complex at Headley Court, which will house a swimming pool, two gyms and a medical research centre.
Building work is already well under way and the project is due to be completed early next year.
“The pool is built now and it looks incredible,” said Mr Elliott. “General Dannatt told us to do something the army needs and everything we have done is driven by our passion to help these incredible young men and women.”
Lance Corporal Matt Kingston, 25, from the Royal Marines, had to have his right leg amputated below the knee after he was hit by sniper fire two years ago while on patrol in Afghanistan.
A truly inspiring role model, he was back on his feet as soon as possible with the help of a prosthetic limb.
He joined the fundraising Khumbu Challenge earlier this year and undertook the testing trek to Everest base camp.
“I’d never done anything like that before and it was pretty amazing,” he said. “My injury has definitely made me stop taking things for granted and made me want to get out there and do what I can for others.
“I’ll be running the London Marathon next year and will also be doing the Big Battlefield Bike Ride, which is more than 350 miles.
“I’ve just been discharged from Headley Court. It’s a brilliant place and the staff are fantastic. Everyone works really hard and it’s so busy at the minute.
“I hope to go back to the army but it won’t be in the front line. I want to be back with the boys. I have rough days but most of the time I just crack on