Lincolnshire Co-op fundraise for charity Help for Heroes

L-R: Team JLS’ Julia Romney, Liz Lawton and Samantha Stuart, Wyn Austin and Stuart Parker.

Staff at Lincolnshire Co-operative are celebrating raising £125,763 for military aid charity, Help for Heroes.

A combination of physical trials, events and wristband sales helped the team generate the funds, which will to support projects across the county.

The money collected could go towards adapting housing for around 100 wounded service people, pay for individual recovery plans, or even provide funding for personnel recovery centres.

Every year Co-op employees collect money for a charity, which is voted for by the company’s 210,000 members.

Lincolnshire Co-op’s Chief Executive, Ursula Lidbetter is delighted with the total and knows local people identify with Help for Heroes.

“It’s fantastic and a tribute to the efforts all our staff have made in finding weird and wonderful ways to raise money throughout the past year,” she said.

As well as innovative ideas from staff, £20,000 was contributed by customers through collection boxes, and £16,000 came in via wristband sales.

One serviceman who receives help from the charity, Wyn Austin (23) of the Royal Dragoon Guards, was present to celebrate the achievement.

Austin’s routine patrol was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last year, killing the driver of his vehicle and leaving Austin with a broken back in two places, a smashed heel and later an amputated leg from above the knee.

The serviceman is now looking forward to retraining for a career back in civilian life with the aid of Help for Heroes.

Austin said: “I’m hoping the course will find me a good job, as long as it isn’t a desk job and keeps me outdoors or physically active.”

Some of Lincolnshire Co-op’s own heroes were present after completing dedicated fundraising tasks.

Stuart Parker raised over £7,000 by completing two consecutive Ironman challenges and Team JLS (Julia Romney, Liz Lawton and Samantha Stuart) conquered their own triathlon, generating £1,200.

53-year-old Parker was inspired by Team True Spirit, a group of injured servicemen who completed the second Ironman alongside him.

“I felt better after the second than the first, seeing the team of amputees around the course makes you feel you can do anything if they can,” said Parker.

Team JLS all have links to the armed forces, with one from an RAF background and two married to RAF servicemen.

Romney said: “We designed a triathlon for 40 plus women and had blisters, aches and pains but with a hot bath we were okay, with a few tears after doing something for a charity that is so close to us.”

Lincolnshire Co-op announced that this year’s cause will be global children’s charity Plan.