“WHAT IS YOUR HELPING HAND IDEA / INITIATIVE” I would like to nominate an incredible person who I have met called Andy North. In a couple of months Andy will push his body to the absolute limit, undertaking the most incredible endurance challenge in order to raise £50,000 for two amazing charities that no one really knows about, Forces Children’s Trust and ABF The Soldiers Charity. Starting in August, Andy will be running a total of 25 marathons, cycling 1,300 miles and even kayaking 25 miles across the English Channel, in his bid to travel from Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire to Gibraltar – and he’s going to do all of this within just 6 weeks. To achieve this amazing feat, Andy will spend over 8hrs each day running in the mornings & cycling in the afternoons in order to cover the total distance of 1,800 miles. There are three reasons I am personally nominating Andy for the Helping Hand: 1. He is a regular guy Andy is not a professional athlete and nor does he have the luxury of corporate sponsorship. He is a regular guy with work and family responsibilities and is almost 50 years of age. The fact that he has been able to juggle all of these commitments is testament to itself how worthy he is of this ‘Helping Hand.’ 2. I grew up in the Armed Forces Some of you may be aware that my father was in the RAF and I grew up in several different bases throughout the UK and Germany. As such, I gained a first-hand appreciation of the unsettling and often traumatic lifestyle associated with this environment – especially the lack of support once servicemen and their families leave the Forces. 3. I’ve agreed to join him! To top this all off, Andy has been actively asking people to come and join him on his incredible journey, to help break up the days and keep his motivation high. I have been so personally inspired by what Andy is doing that I’ve agreed to join him to run at least one 20 mile leg of his trip. “WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND OF YOUR NOMINATION” Firstly, please take 5 minutes to watch this video of Andy as he explains the challenge in his own words:

Secondly, please click on this link if you’d like to see the route that Andy will be taking to reach Gibraltar

Thirdly, please click on the links below to see the amazing work of the two charities Andy is doing this for:

“HOW WOULD THE FUNDS BENEFIT THEM?” The funds would go directly to Andy’s Just Giving page to help him reach his goal of £50,000. Then, to give you an idea of how these wonderful charities impact so many lives, I’ve put a couple of examples below regarding how the actual funds will be used once Andy passes them on . . . . The Forces Children’s Trust was started in 2004 by Wise who, after one of his close friend’s was killed in battle, leaving behind a wife, daughter and un-born child. Realising that they had no one to turn to, Denny pledged there and then to do something for them and others in that situation. The Forces Children’s Trust is charity devoted to helping children whose father or mother has died, or has been seriously injured, whilst serving as a member of the British Armed Forces.

One recent example of how the charity has helped a family in need is when it provided special software for a dyslexic young boy who had sadly lost his father. The cost was beyond the mother in her present circumstances and not available from other sources. In contrast, the Trust funded and enabled a trip to London for a group of young children to see the hit-show ‘Mary Poppins'. This included an overnight stay as well as restaurant meals and other visits together with their mothers and escorts from the Army/RAF Widows Associations.

The Soldiers Charity, has a much broader purpose  as the two examples below illustrate:

Ben Parkinson (Lance Bombardier) has been described by medical experts as ‘the most wounded soldier to survive his injuries’, but his determination to recover has humbled and inspired everyone that’s met him. A landmine explosion in Afghanistan meant he lost both his legs and suffered brain damage that left him unable to speak or stand. The Charity gave Ben a grant to buy a high tech multi gym to allow him to continue his physio at home. Ben trained for at least three hours a day and four years on has managed to stand and speak again. Glen Edwards, A Territorial Army Corporal who served in Iraq in 2004, lost part of his left arm, was almost completely blinded, suffered hearing damage, a broken leg and severe burns to his chest, when he was injured. Suddenly, the everyday activities that we all take for granted became a much tougher challenge. All Corporal Edwards wanted was help towards converting his bathroom into a wet room to make it easier to have a decent shower. A grant from us has made that possible.

I hope this provides a clear image regarding how important Andy’s charity work is and how it will impact so many lives. Kevin Matthews - Jenrick Recruitment Group