Please help Hounds for Heroes


Hounds for HeroesWhy Hounds for Heroes? We have all seen the images of injured service men and women returning from overseas conflicts and the heroic stories of recovery both emotional and physical that touch us deeply before our own lives quickly move on. Whilst life also moves on for the injured it is far more challenging and painful and in ways we can hardly comprehend. Once the physical scars have healed and the prosthetic limb mastered their internal torment can often continue.

But through the companionship of a specially trained dog that can assist them in performing a range of practical tasks and offering constant support and friendship through the darkest times, the lives of these courageous people is transformed.

So how can you help Hounds for Heroes?

Well, the fact that I've already surpassed two financial targets suggests there are clearly many who want me to do a parachute jump from a perfectly good aircraft, and if others wish to help I'm certain Hounds for Heroes (and I) would be very grateful.

I'm told by others who have done this kind of stuff that the idea behind jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft can often be attributed to a very pleasant evening quaffing various alcoholic beverages amongst friends. Not surprisingly then, my decision too also followed a similar vein. However, perhaps unlike many before me this was something I had been keen to do for many a year, and so when it came up as an auction prize at a Charity Ball that also raised funds for this worthwhile cause I was happy to bid for it.

So with the date of May 2nd set for my jump rapidly approaching, my anticipation continues to build. But unlike Da Vinci and Isaac Newton I get to appreciate what it's like to defy gravity for around 5 ½ minutes.

When I jump from just over 10,000ft at the Army Parachute Association's centre at Netheravon, Salisbury in Wiltshire, thankfully strapped to a highly experienced parachutist, Hounds for Heroes, the charity started by Allen Parton a former Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy will be able to fund its work a little further. Allen's story and that of his first four legged partner, 'Endal' who was so critical in rebuilding Allen's life can be read here. I can assure you, that when you've read it you'll see how crucial Endal was and now 'EJ' (Endal Junior) is to Allen and how this encounter between them has been the catalyst for helping so many other injured service personnel.

Many people do of course jump from aircraft to raise money for charities and to some extent perhaps it's not considered the risk it once was. Nonetheless the fact remains that I will fall half my distance in that first 30 seconds, equivalent to 176 feet per second, simply as a result of gravity; that's frighteningly fast and one worthy of your support. So to all those that have contributed, thank you, and if you know of others who might yet help me surpass the next target please forward this email so that they may donate via the link to my JustGiving page, they will be helping significantly.

P.S Later this year I hope to meet some of the Hounds for Heroes team and the current 'Squadron' of puppies in training. If you would like to visit the centre with me to see for yourself the fantastic work they do, just drop me an email to neil@nejstevenson.co.uk and we'll see what we can arrange.

Posted on 23rd April 2014

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