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    News

    JOHN MAKES A BEE-LINE TO SUCCESS

    JOHN MAKES A BEE-LINE TO SUCCESS

    After a career in the Army followed by 22 years in the Police John Geden was diagnosed with PTSD from his traumatic experiences in both services. He took early retirement as a result and turned to his passion for bee-keeping as a calming coping mechanism.

    “I needed to do something that would give me a sense of worth and achievement, but that did not put me under too much pressure by placing huge demands on me.”

    He then went on to establish a business around his new passion - developing a balm with healing properties derived from propolis which comes from the bee-hives. In 2018 John joined forces with Aromatherapist Debbie Mulkern of New Forest Aromatics to produce WiSP balm. It has proved beneficial to many veterans wearing prosthetic limbs alleviating soreness. Not just for veterans the balm is also widely used by runners, climbers and cyclists, helping to protect from skin dryness, chaffing, blistering and cracked skin.

    Left: John and Debbie with their WiSP balm at Tedworth House recovery centre
    Right: John with his hives 

    100% of the profit from each sale of WiSP balm is gifted to Help for Heroes when bought from shop.helpforheroes.org.uk  

    Shop WiSP Balm > 

    ANDREA BARTLETT - KEEPING MOTIVATED

    ANDREA BARTLETT - KEEPING MOTIVATED

    Veteran and Band of Brother, Andrea Bartlett has joined us once more in creating another wonderful range of products. Andrea worked with us for our autumn/winter range last year, her beautiful artwork was transformed into bestselling designs featuring on both a Christmas t-shirt and a set of tea towels.

    This year, we approached Andrea once more with a concept in mind and Andrea ran with it! 

    After months of hard work and Andrea's creative flair, we have the pleasure of introducing the new Motivational range. This fun set of t-shirts features well known motivational quotes, inspiring you to keep pushing forward!

    SHOP THE MOTIVATIONAL T-SHIRT RANGE >>

     

    Motivational T-Shirt Range

    We caught up with Andrea to find out what her inspiration was behind the brilliant illustrations and her thoughts on the new collection. 

    What was it like working on the artwork?

    I love a new challenge, so I was incredibly excited and honoured to be asked by Help for Heroes, to design the motivational t-shirts.

    Due to being a wildlife artist, I thought I'd start off sketching, what I knew best; animals! I decided to use endangered species, because I think they pretty much best represent a military veteran. There's far too many of us losing their lives needlessly every day. So, this project is definitely something I felt passionately about. The slogans really inspired me, knowing that they were thought of by service personnel, in the recovery centres. I'm hoping the motivational t-shirts will put a smile on your face and remind you all to keep going. 

    What was it like working on a new project for the Trading shop team?

    I loved working with the Trading shop team. They were all so supportive and made me feel part of their team, despite being so far away. They're the best advocates for Help for Heroes and really care about what they do and who they're doing it for. 

    Which is your favourite design? 

    Surprisingly to me, I think my favourite design is the 'if it ain't raining..' design. I love how 3 seperate designs have been combined to make the final one. It's very effective and the Help for Heroes design team have done an amazing job on it. 

    Andrea Bartlett

    I think you should buy these new t-shirt designs, because they're fun, quirky and will make you smile. They represent the whole military community, and hopefully, they'll be a reminder to some of you, of your past military service and help you to remember to keep pushing forward. You've got this! 

    To see more of Andrea's brilliant creations, make sure to check her Instagram - @bartandeddiedesign

     

    ROSS KEMP

    ROSS KEMP

    Help for Heroes Patron, Ross Kemp is a passionate supporter and regular visitor to many parts of the Charity, including Tedworth House Recovery centre, where he spends time talking to veterans and their families about their recovery journeys. He’s also a familiar visitor to volunteers based at the Tin Hut, where he enjoys taking time out to chat to many volunteers about what they do and why they enjoy volunteering for Help for Heroes.  

    At the Tin Hut, he met with a regular volunteer and Band of Sister, Lesley McNab. Lesley has been volunteering for Help for Heroes for 3 years, enjoying the friendships she's made with other volunteers, staff and beneficiaries. She said, '' I enjoy the friendship of other volunteers and staff, and I love it when the beneficiaries come down from Tedworth House for a chat. I hope in some small way I’m giving something back to those who have given so much’’.  

    Her advice, ’’To anyone thinking of volunteering, do it! It’s a wonderful place, everyone is here because they want to be. It’s also great to go out bucket collecting and meeting the public and having a chat about what Help for Heroes can do".

    Ross and Volunteers at the Tin Hut

    Ross posing for a photo with volunteers Lesley and Steve.

    Then Ross kindly took the time to help out us in the Trading team by having some pictures taken in our latest collection of t-shirts and hoodies. We think he makes a pretty good model! Take a look! 

    Shop the Ross Edit >

    THE WATERCOLOUR BLOOM SCARF

    THE WATERCOLOUR BLOOM SCARF

    Last year we had the pleasure of working with veteran and Band of Brother, Ben Skipper. Ben brought his talent and creative flair to a collaborative project to design a range around the theme of Armed Forces Day; a thoroughly patriotic collection to wear with pride. 

    This popular and best-selling range was a wonderful showcase for Ben and one which has resulted in being nominated as a finalist for 'Best Product Range' at the Association of Cultural Enterprises Awards. We are very proud of this nomination and thank Ben for his creativity and hard-work on this project. 

    With a fresh product in mind we approached Ben to help create a beautiful print for our new scarf, the Watercolour Bloom scarf. The design evolved over time to become a light-weight, floral scarf made to lift any outfit, with a style to carry you through the Spring-Summer. Ben has many creative hats and even photographed and styled the scarf on his friends and family at the wonderful Kelham Hall, see images below. 

     

    SHOP THE WATERCOLOUR BLOOM SCARF >

    We caught up with Ben to find out more about the inspiration behind the hand-painted print and how he felt about working on this project. 

    What was it like working on a new project for the Trading shop team?

    Firstly, it really was a great honour to be asked to work with the Team, the opportunity to produce work for such a great cause doesn't come up every day, so when I was asked I was I was totally blown away. I've always wanted to produce an item of clothing that could be worn in a variety of situations, so be given the opportunity was mana from heaven so to speak.

    Once the design had been processed and returned to me the transformation was truly breathtaking. I had been kept up to speed throughout, but when the first set of soft proofs arrived I was blown away by their beauty and how sympathetically they'd been rearranged, and when the hard proof arrived it really was something else. I was amazed at how the delicacy of the material matched that of the watercolours perfectly. That moment of holding the finished product for the first time was one of excitement and anticipation as well as appreciation of skills that had gone into changing watercolours into a breathtakingly beautiful pattern.

    The challenge to produce something original and eye-catching is the best part of any brief and once the final proof watercolours are sent off the worst part is the waiting. It's almost like a deep breath before the plunge, so when the first proofing email does arrive the relief and excitement is overwhelming.

    What was it like working on the artwork for the Watercolour Bloom scarf? How did you get started on a design? What inspired/influenced your design?

    Working on the artwork of the scarf was a great opportunity to explore my own creativity and experiment with a colour palette that didn't necessarily adhere to nature's own work, it was an opportunity to be freely creative and just see what happened. I initially started the process by looking at flowers in plain form, looking at how the petals, in particular, grew outwards and then trying to emulate their swooping movement in my designs. I quickly sketched out the outer petals and then started to lay down the initial colours, working towards the center of the flower as I went. I then literally just went with the flow as inspiration took me and stepping back when I felt it was right to do so. 

    My inspiration ranged from the wonderful commercial botanical illustrations that proliferated in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, to the photography of Karl Blossfeldt, and Robert Maplethorpe as well as Dain L. Taskers radiographs and a few stills of my own.  

    What do you like most about the design/finished product?

    Without a doubt the way in which they had been incorporated into this wonderfully flowing pattern. The main two colour palette, whilst muted, is also vibrant and warm,  the details of the flowers standing out and demanding attention whilst drawing you in. The choice of producing the pattern as a scarf is inspired as by its very nature, like a wildflower, it flows around the wearer, mirroring the intricate pattern produced by the Trading Team.

    What was it like to photograph the product you helped design?

    Again it was an honour to be asked to do the photography for the scarfs and involve both my wife and friend Leander Crampton, who are great supporters of Help for Heroes. It was exciting to sit down and draft the shoot plan thinking of the best ways to show off the scarf. Kelham Hall in Nottinghamshire very kindly allowed us to use their grounds and Hall for the shoot, and the results of placing the scarf in a range of environments and contexts really helped to show it and some of the latest clothing lines off beautifully. 

    What would you say to someone thinking of buying this scarf?

    First and foremost it funds vital support for those who have sustained often catastrophic injuries in the line of duty or who have become ill during their service. It also helps heal the broken, allows families to come together and laugh once more, and strengthens communities. Your money provides not just a day out to the seaside, it provides a moment, a hug, a long-absent laugh with ice cream. It allows the lonely to experiment in a team sports experience that leads to a new passion. It pays for world-class staff who support our Veterans and their families every day throughout the UK. It pays for ground-breaking rehabilitation, companionship, and hope. It's an opportunity to support all of this and buy an article designed by a beneficiary of the services of Help for Heroes. Ultimately it's an opportunity to stand side by side with some of the bravest Veterans and families I have ever met and say; I know and I care. 

    SHOP THE WATERCOLOUR BLOOM SCARF >

    ACE AWARDS FINALISTS

    ACE AWARDS FINALISTS

    We're extremely proud to announce that we have been selected as finalists for this years ACE awards! Two product ranges that have been developed in collaboration with both veterans and supporters have been shortlisted for an award.

    ACE (Association of Cultural Enterprises) awards, "Recognise and celebrate the retail places and people that truly deliver consistently great experience and in doing so, become the organisation and brand top of mind among their customers and their peers."

    Our Flowers of Friendship Scarf has been selected as a finalist for 'Best Product'. This scarf was designed by members of one of the charity’s support groups, the scarf has been created with true Help for Heroes spirit!

    The judges said, ''A great product created with true spirit in a low-key way, representing the vital support and friendship of the group''.

    Flowers of Friendship Scarf

    Our second entry for the category 'Best Range' was our Armed Forces Day range, designed in collaboration with veteran Ben Skipper to commemorate Armed Forces Day 2019.
    The judges said,''A great range created with true spirit for a worthy cause, with new skills being learnt in the process''. 
     

    Armed Forces Day Clothing Range

     

    The winners will be selected in March at the ACE Annual Conference, fingers crossed and we'll keep you posted!