Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Keys to the door for charity founder
The keys for Wiltshire’s recovery centre, which is being partly paid for by the Gazette’s appeal, were handed over to Help for Heroes founder Bryn Parry on Friday at Tidworth.
The first wounded men and women should start moving into Tedworth House, a former Army officers mess, by the summer.
Mr Parry who with his wife Emma helped found the charity, received the keys to Tedworth House from the Tidworth Garrison Commanding Officer, Col Paddy Tabor.
The house, which is owned by the Army but leased for 99 years at a peppercorn rate, is being converted into the charity’s fifth rehabilitation centre.
Salisbury Plain has historically been one of the main Army bases in the UK and it seemed an obvious place for H4H to establish a centres The conversion is expected to be quicker than a new-build project but the charity has a shopping list of about £40 million, of which £17 million will be spent over the next few months restoring the main house and building a new wing.
The charity has set itself a target of June to have the first 29 injured troops moving in.
They will be housed in portable cabins which will be used until the main house conversion and wing is complete.
Phase II, to be completed by the Spring of 2012, comprises new accommodation for a total of 50 injured men and women.
Injured troops will go to Tedworth House after receiving initial treatment in hospitals and at Headley Court, near Epsom, the main Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre.
Mr Parry said: “This is where the guys will come for assessment, discussing with them what they want to do with their lives and then helping them train for new careers.”
Mr Parry stressed that, as well as providing initial care, rehabilitation and new career training, Tedworth House will also provide multi-agency care to injured service personnel for the rest of their lives.
Ian McFarlane, who will manage Tedworth House, said “We want members of the community to feel that this centre is being opened not just for injured service personnel but for the community as a whole.”
Also based in Tedworth House will be offices of other service aid groups including the Royal British Legion, British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association and the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen Family Association.
Mr Parry said: “Tidworth is the first of our centres to bring all these agencies together.”