PRIME Minister David Cameron visited Tedworth House on Friday as he helped local charity Help for Heroes launch their new fundraising challenge.
Mr Cameron joined Sergeant Simon Harmer, who lost both his legs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, and triple Paralympic silver medallist Jon-Allan Butterworth to launch Help for Heroes’ 2013 Hero Ride.
It will be the biggest cycling demonstration of national support for the wounded this country has ever seen and aims to raise £1million. On May 20 next year cycle rides will set off from all corners of the country and abroad before meeting at Blackheath on June 2.
From there thousands of riders will cycle into central London, lay a wreath at the Cenotaph and cycle past Buckingham Palace before finishing at the Horse Guards Parade.
Sgt Harmer, 33, was just one month into his tour, serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps, in 2009 when he was injured.
Help for Heroes funded a handbike for him. Last year he took part in the Big Battlefield Bike Ride, a 350-mile cycle across the battlefields of France, and this year completed the 3,051-mile Race Across America.
He said: “Everyone should sign up to the Hero Ride to show their support to Help for Heroes and all the people that they help. Events like this need as much support from the public as possible as many of the wounded will need help and support for a long time if not all their life.”
Mr Cameron visited Help for Heroes’ Phoenix Centre, which offers some of the UK’s most advanced adaptive sports facilities and technology to the wounded.
He met wounded servicemen and women and their families who use the facilities at Tedworth House to talk to them about the issues they face and also explained to staff how important the work they do is.
Mr Cameron said: “I never fail to be amazed by the sheer grit and determination of our forces and what they can achieve both on and off the battlefield. Meeting with some of our wounded serving personnel and veterans today and seeing just what they have achieved brings this into sharp focus. I have nothing but admiration for them.
“I wish Help for Heroes every success in meeting their target of raising £1million, which will help continue the excellent work that is done here at Tedworth House and elsewhere, ensuring our veterans get the support they need and deserve.”
To find out more about Hero Ride and to register go to helpforheroes.org.uk.