Service station staff aid Heroes

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Moto employees in Wetherby have played their part in raising £2m for Help for Heroes, which the charity will use to provide lifelong support for wounded Veterans.

The service station at Wetherby helped the Moto in the Community Trust (MITC), the charitable arm of Moto services, reach the milestone following a dedicated seven-year fundraising drive which included collections on Armed Forces Day, school holidays and Bank Holidays, and an annual Big Battlefield Bike Ride through Northern France.

Phil Williams, Moto’s Area General Manager at the Moto service station at Wetherby, said: “Help for Heroes is a cause close to my heart and it’s brilliant that Moto have been able to support the charity’s vital work.

“We’re a very busy service station here and all the staff really get into the fundraising spirit.”

The fundraising saw the team support the Big Battlefield Bike Ride by organising their own static pedal ride tombola stand.

At Christmas 2018 two staff, Andy and Shannon, volunteered their free time to dress up as elves and collect donations for Help for Heroes, raising for than £3,500.

The support has helped to fund mental health and wellbeing schemes, and keyworkers at the Help for Heroes Welfare Support Hubs, where specialists offer advice and guidance on issues such as money, health, housing and respite.

Former RAF Sergeant Martin Langford from Leeming, North Yorkshire, is among the beneficiaries who have been directly helped by the fundraising by Moto.

Martin spent two years virtually trapped in his own home due to chronic pain and severe fatigue from rheumatoid and osteo arthritis, as well as worsening Services-related anxiety and depression.

Then he saw a magazine article about money being raised to build a wood workshop at Help for Heroes’ northern recovery centre in Catterick, just a few miles from his home.

He called the centre and reached key worker Steve Strefford, who soon realised Martin could benefit from more than just woodturning lessons and developed an action plan to aid Martin’s recovery.

Since then, the father of four has been on an outward bounds course, discovered a talent for creative writing and woodturning, and seen his health improve. He has also become a volunteer in the workshop with the aim of supporting other Veterans.

“I was determined to make the most of the opportunity to improve myself mentally and physically,” said Martin.

“Steve pointed me in the right direction and encouraged me through my hesitancy. Since then, all the teams at Phoenix House have been a massive help to me, building my confidence and helping me understand so much about why we think and act like we do.

“I still have a long journey ahead, especially in recovering my fitness, and hope one day to use my new-found skills to get a job. Thanks to Steve and everyone at Help for Heroes, I am now optimistic about my future.”

Brian Larkin, Chairman of Moto in the Community Trust, said: “As Help for Heroes’ largest corporate partner, we are delighted to have raised over £2 million for them since we began our relationship in 2012.

“The partnership has been a huge success and, we are most grateful for the on-going support and generosity of Moto staff, Help for Heroes volunteers, our customers and our suppliers across the country.

“We’re committed to supporting the brave men and women of our Armed Forces to rebuild their lives and have set a new target to raise a further £1 million for Help for Heroes.”