Date:Wednesday May 6th, 2015
Location:Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Phoenix House, Richmond Road, Catterick
What:Presentation of an adaptive dartboard that makes it possible for standing and wheelchair users, disabled and able-bodied, to compete equally against each other.
Who:Darts-loving veteran Tony Pass from Brompton-on-Swale raised the money through a raffle of prizes donated by local businesses. Tony has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and benefits from using facilities at Phoenix House.
Julie Hopkin whose arthritis means she has to use a wheelchair much of the time and who welcomes the chance to play darts on an equal basis
Background: Disabled darts is to be added to the activitieson offer atHelp for Heroes northern Recovery Centre thanks to a donation from one of its beneficiaries.
Army veteran Tony Pass has Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which is an incurable disease that has left him with only 60 percent lung function that will only get worse. The former Corporal of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers has to carry a supply of oxygen around with him wherever he goes - but that didn’t stop him visiting scores of businesses in the region asking for donations for a raffle that he organised in aid of Phoenix House.
As a darts fan – both as a player and a spectator – Tony wanted to enable other wounded, injured and sick servicemen, women and veterans to enjoy his favourite sport through the provision of a special dart unit at the Centre.
The Wildfire 137 is approved by the World Darts Federation and comprises of a lightweight dart frame with a rotating backboard so that the height of the playing area can be quickly and easily altered, according to the needs of the player. It means that seated people can compete equally against those stood up.
"I love darts – whether I am playing in my local league, Richmond & Catterick darts, dressing up as ‘Bully’ at events on the circuit or travelling around the country watching professional tournaments,” said 45-year-old Tony who lives in Brompton on Swale.
"I hope my donation to Phoenix House will enable others to enjoy my passion. I hope to run training sessions there and also organise fun competition nights for all who wish to take part.”
So successful was Tony in acquiring top prizes for his raffle (from darts-related prizes, donated by Winmau, and entry tickets to local attractions such as the Forbidden Corner and Beamish Museum to meat vouchers, wine and a gym pass) that, with the help of fellow darts team member Tony Pearce in selling tickets and support from Dave Williams the President of Richmond & Catterick Darts, he raised enough money for a second Wildfire 137 unit which he is donating to another Help for Heroes Recovery Centre.
"I started out just shaking a metal collection tin at darts matches on a Friday night but the response was so good that I registered with Help for Heroes to make it official and then sent a letter to ‘everyone I could think of and ended up with a whole list of prizes,” said Tony.
"It started small and just grew until I more than achieved my goal.”
The World Disabled Darts Association (WDDA), whose founder Russ Strobel designed the Wildfire 137, held its first UK tournament in 2014 leading to the crowning of the first ever disabled darts world champion. This year’s tournament formed part of the Isle of Man Darts Festival in March when Tony took part, making it through to the semi-final where hewas defeated by the eventual winner.
"I was really proud to have taken part in the event and am looking forward to working with the UK branch of the WDDA to raise the profile of disabled darts,” said Tony.
As part of this aim, Tony has even written to HRH Prince Harry – a known darts fan – to ask if it can be included in the next Invictus Games (2016), and received a reply commending him on his fundraising achievements.
For More Information, contact:
Debbie Calgie, PR Officer Phoenix House
Tel: 01748 834148
Notes to Editors:
ABOUT HELP FOR HEROES
·Help for Heroes offers comprehensive support to those who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses while serving our country.
·This support is provided through grants to individuals, other charities, capital build projects and at four Help for Heroes Recovery Centres across the UK.
·For more information about Help for Heroes, please visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk
ABOUT PHOENIX HOUSE
- Help for Heroes’ Recovery Centre at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, officially opened in September 2013. The charity had previously operated an interim facility for 18 months.
- Known as Phoenix House Recovery Centre, it has 50 en-suite bedrooms, including four family rooms, a Support Hub enabling access to a wide range of welfare support, an arts and craft room and training, presentation and IT suites. A gymnasium with specialist equipment, a café and social areas also form part of the new Centre.
- Unique courses and tailored support are available to recovering serving personnel, veterans and families to help them achieve their long-term goals and aspirations.
- Activities include educational courses and vocational visits designed to facilitate a smooth transition to civilian life, as well as sporting activities to improve personal independence, raise morale, develop camaraderie with others who have been wounded, and show what can be achieved.
ABOUT THE WDDA
·More information about disable darts can be found at http://www.world-disability-darts.org
·Follow the WDDA on Facebook WddaWorldDisabilityDartsOrganisation
ABOUT DEFENCE RECOVERY CAPABILITY
- The Defence Recovery Capability is an MOD initiative in partnership with Help for Heroes
and Phoenix House is one of several specialist centres supporting the recovery of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel to ensure they have access to the key services and resources needed to help them either return to duty or make a smooth transition into an appropriately skilled and supported civilian life.
- The Defence Recovery Capability is underpinned by substantial financial investment by both MOD and its principal partners Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion; this represents the largest single charitable contribution to the Armed Forces in British history.
·In addition to Catterick, Recovery Centres are located in Edinburgh, Germany, Tidworth, Colchester and Plymouth.The locations of the Centres have been selected to be at the heart of major areas of military presence and offer residential facilities to those wounded, injured and sick personnel from across the Armed Forces undergoing recovery as well as providing facilities for day attendees; they are not hospitals or rehabilitation centres.
·For more information on the DRC contact MOD Press Office 0207 218 7907.