Charity helps Brit soldiers overcome war at life-changing recovery centre

A life-changing recovery centre is helping Britain’s war heroes to get back on their feet.

Help for Heroes has supported 25,000 of our bravest at Tedworth House in Wiltshire.

But it’s only with our help that it can continue to do so, as donations always drop off in peacetime.

Your Daily Star Sunday was given a tour of the facilities to see first hand the incredible work that goes on there.

The charity’s Andy Johnson-Creek, told me: “One of the things that as a charity we are challenged by is that we’re not at war, so people start to think it’s not as much of an issue any more.

“But recovery is a long-term thing. You don’t recover overnight from PTSD or losing a limb, whatever it is.”

I visited the centre and saw the incredible facilities used by ex-servicemen and women to help them back out into the real world.

My tour first took me to an “Iron Age” roundhouse set in woodland, which was the result of a group of vets’ hard work.

Andy said building the shelter, now used for “quiet time”, gave heroes the sense of camaraderie they may have missed.

The soldiers stay at Tedworth House, rented from the military for £1 a year, to receive help overcoming PTSD. Amputees go there for support with gaining strength and building their body confidence.

The fully adapted gym contains machines specifically for people with physical disabilities, but the indoor ski slope next door is what really blew my mind. On a giant treadmill- style slope, snow sports fans can kit up and adapt the incline to suit their skills.

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The specialist technology is so good, the centre is a favourite for skiers hoping to make the paralympic Team GB.

It struck me how everything at the centre has a layered purpose. The wheelchair-friendly kitchen might, on the surface, be teaching cooking skills but it also offers a therapeutic experience.

And I was shocked to open a door in the basement to find I was the closest I have ever been to flying first class.

British Airways donated an entire cabin of furniture so veterans can chill out in style.

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Finding something an ex-soldier is passionate about and could take up as a hobby or job is at the heart of Help for Heroes’ recovery process. Visitors are encouraged to try everything from bat monitoring to beekeeping and even chainsaw handling.

I met Philip Kimber, 65, who was seriously injured by a rocket attack in Basra, Iraq, in 2007 then diagnosed with PTSD.

Throwing himself into life at Tedworth House marked a major turning point in his recovery.

He told me: “People say, ‘Phil, you’ve changed so much in the last year’. It’s because of Help for Heroes. It’s brilliant.

"I’ve made friends and done so much. I’ve learned to live with my PTSD and feel like a human being again.”

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To encourage the younger generation to support war veterans, the charity has launched fundraising platform Hero Up.

Philip added: “It’s essentially a platform where gamers can sign up, go on the website and they can stream live and ask for friends, family and followers to donate to them.

“Half a million people watched gamers on YouTube last year and we’re trying to tap into that so people seeing it can donate.”

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