I was very lucky on Friday that ESK Warehouse in Eastbourne offered me a fundraising collection/ bag packing day to boost my fundraising for Help for Heroes. On what must be one of their busiest days of the year it was a generous offer and fortunately the weather not being great didn’t stop people shopping and after spending 3 and a half hours on the turbo trainer in the car park at work on thursday being inside was a real bonus!
I was joined for the morning by Dave Eastoe who is also doing BBBR13 and his son Joe. It was great to meet Dave and we immediately hit it off and I’m looking forward to riding with me in France in June. My son Jacob came along to help as did my partner Vicky, her Sister in Law Liz with Freddie & Spencer. The other helping hands we had were from some Sea Cadets from TS Eastbourne pictured below who set to with a will and proved popular with the customers too.
Unfortunately the Cadets couldn’t stay all day but when they left the family connection kicked in and we kept the bag packing going until ESK closed it’s doors. It was fabulous to see just how generous people were with many people dropping all their change into the collecting buckets as we rather inexpertly packed their bags!
As well as helping pack bags a few people were helped out to their cars with their bulky or heavy purchases including one elderly gent whose name I’m afraid I didn’t get. As I wheeled his trolley loaded with potting compost out to his car and explained what we were fundraising for he rather stumped me by telling me he was 89 and had been in the Navy, he smiled when I told him I’d been in the RAF and then said he’d “Been on Landing Craft on D-Day” as calmly as he’d told me the compost was for his Dahlia’s he was getting ready to plant up!
He would have been 20 in June 1944 and I can’t imagine what he saw and experienced on that day. When I was 20 I was serving in Northern Ireland, an experience that I enjoyed, learnt a lot from! But those 3 years certainly comes nowhere near what this gentleman went through in one day. What my service also comes nowhere near is the experience of another resident of Eastbourne Joe Townsend who was a 19yr old Royal Marine when he lost both his legs in 2008 in Afghanistan. To read more about Joe and what he has done since then click here and here to learn about his role in last years Paralympic Opening ceremony.
This concidence just reinforced for me why Help for Heroes is such a great charity. The fact that there are young people willing give up one day of their holiday to help me raise some money to support other young men and women wounded serving their country is very reassuring and goes against the stereotypes of young people we see too often in the media. The fact that Jacob, Joe, Freddie & Spencer also gave up their friday to help was great too.
Getting home, this:
Which turned out to be £527.73!
It’s a fantastic amount but I’ve not reached my target yet and the day just spurred me on to raise even more for Help for Heroes.
If the sight of that cash, hearing about Joe, or reading about how nonchalant ex servicemen can be has spurred you on don’t forget it’s easy to donate, you can text BBBR51 £2 to 70070, log on to my fundraising page or drop me a line to offer some help.
Thanks for reading.