- First time Help for Heroes veterans have taken part in the Cenotaph Service
- Help for Heroes thanks the Royal British Legion for inviting veterans to march
- Veteran Bob McNab, of Tidworth, Wiltshire, sought support from Help for Heroes after watching a veteran with PTSD on Remembrance Sunday coverage last year
For the first time, a small band of Veterans supported by Help for Heroes will march as a group alongside 10,000 others taking part in the annual Cenotaph Service in Whitehall, London on Sunday 12th November.
40 Ex-service men and women, including Bob McNab whose father and grandfather also served, will march alongside their former comrades in the Cenotaph March Past, after being invited by The Royal British Legion.
Bob joined the Army in 1968, serving with the Royal Engineers. Despite the enjoyment and exciting challenges the military brought, a deployment to Northern Ireland in the 1970s would be the catalyst that sent Bob’s life heading out of control: “Things went on there that ended up causing issues with my attitude, demeanour, mind and wellbeing.”
Discharged from the Army in 1982, Bob knew he had to get help but didn’t want to accept how he was feeling or reach out for support. Instead, he turned to alcohol. Shutting himself away, Bob was at home watching Remembrance Sunday coverage with his wife, Lesley, when a Veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was interviewed on the programme. Seeing him really hit home for Bob the need to pick up the phone and start his recovery journey:
“I looked at him and said, ‘That’s me’, and that’s when I got help. I joined the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers fellowship for the wounded. I first thought it was for those who’d been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I was wrong. Now I’m getting offered all these things to help me march along on my recovery road.”
The March Past
Help for Heroes CEO Mel Waters said: “We know there are 200 medical discharges every month, and that there will be an ongoing and increasing need for support in the future. Therefore, it’s important we continue to work in partnership with other military charities such as The Royal British Legion, to support our veterans and their families, and to give a fair deal to all those affected by military service.”
“Alan McClelland, Help for Heroes Fellowship Coordinator said on behalf of the 40 marching: “We are hugely grateful to The Royal British Legion for giving a Help for Heroes cohort the huge honour of taking part in this year’s Cenotaph March Past for the first time.
He added: “Most of those marching will have lost colleagues during their service, but alongside the sadness is a palpable sense of pride at representing Help for Heroes, wearing their medals and military headdress again after leaving service, and being part of something incredibly special once more.”
The annual Cenotaph March Past is made up of British and Commonwealth former military and civilian Service Personnel to honour the fallen of the British Armed Forces involved in the two World Wars and all conflicts since.
Since the Charity launched, Help for Heroes has supported those affected by their time in the Armed Forces as well as their families. The charity recently commissioned King’s College London to undertake a study to ascertain the scale of the need in years to come. This study found that 66,090 men and women who served between 1991 and 2014 will need support. This equates to 1 in 11 of all those who served as regulars during this period (66,090 / 757,805)[i].