Tony has actively supported the Help for Heroes (H4H) charity since 2012 when he completed the “5 Peaks in 55 Hours” challenge. Since then, Tony has continued to support the Charity primarily in completing the Big Battlefield Bike Rides (BBBR). This post outlines his military career in the Royal Air Force and how he became a committed supporter of Help for Heroes.
Tony joined the Royal Air Force as an apprentice in October 1969, upon leaving school in Newcastle, aged 16. He served for twenty-three and a half years, completing his last tour of duty at No1 Radio School RAF Locking, the place it all started in 1969!
He left the Service in 1993 and enjoyed an equally progressive career in industry initially gaining employment with an Information Technology Consultancy, four years on and he joined Nortel Networks working in the Professional Services Division. Merger and Acquisition activity resulted in his transferring to Airbus whereupon he retired in 2013. He considers himself fortunate to have enjoyed both military and industrial careers in equal amount.
On retirement, Tony extended his membership of three boards at National and Regional level, all associated with the emerging importance of the Reserve Forces. This association fostered a close working relationship with the military post his service period. During this transformational period, for the military establishment, he was able to draw upon his collective military and industry experience in these roles.
Primarily, it is his military background that provided the catalyst of interest in Help for Heroes charity. It was over lunch that he was challenged to enter the “5 Peaks in 55 Hours” challenge by a friend from his RAF Apprentice days. Tony thought about it to ensure he had sufficient time to prepare for the Challenge and agreed to enter with three other RAF Apprentice friends. It was hard but also a brilliant challenge – he was hooked! A little while later Tony learned of the Big Battlefield Bike Rides, through the same friend, and became a serial supporter of the Charity.
In 2016, Tony joined the BBBR2016 – the fund-raising took a different level of commitment. During that time, Help for Heroes had developed a broader-based support network. Help is always on hand. His fund-raising approach was developed to meet the increasing target amounts. In response, Tony developed a wider range of smaller activities to raise funds; a model he continues to employ. He is continually amazed at the generosity of his family, friends, and the Public. Moreover, he is encouraged by the positive response from the public. He has shared conversations with other veterans and listened to their family members regale their stories too about their grandfather, or great uncles – this continues to be an important part of his involvement with Help for Heroes.
During his time with the Charity, Tony has heard stories of considerable emotional and physical experiences, openly shared by beneficiaries. He has also made some wonderful friends on this journey, fellow supporters, and volunteers who continue to raise funds to support the incredible work of our Charity. He has shared his H4H journey with friends old and new and trust he can in the future.