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Representing The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, Geoff Tuck, a trustee and council member, attended the Official Opening of the Help for Heroes (H4H) Recovery Centre at Tedworth House at Tidworth in Wiltshire. This is one of the four centres which form part of the Defence Recovery Capability; the others are located in Catterick, Colchester and Plymouth.
“Tedworth House aims to inspire the wounded, injured, sick and returning veterans to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives, which will enable them to reach their full potential, and to support them and their families for life. It is a place of opportunities providing education, training, sport and adventure in a relaxed, understanding and caring environment. State of the art facilities and dedicated staff aid the road to recovery. It is a most impressive refurbished and extended building with superb amenities and extensive grounds in a breath-taking setting.
Surrounded by a huge gathering of H4H staff, injured men and women, their families, volunteers, sponsors and supporters, and a group of Chelsea Pensioners, the centre was officially opened by their Royal Highnesses Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Henry (Harry). In his address Prince William said: “Those journeys of recovery will be cut short, unforgivably, if we as a nation unfix our attention. We must not let the wounded men and women of our Armed Forces down. This official opening is therefore, I hope, as much a renewed pledge by all of us to go on supporting those who have sacrificed so much, as it is a celebration of an amazing achievement.” Afterwards Their Royal Highnesses met members of the wounded community and their families and heard first-hand about the life-long challenges they face. Their Royal Highnesses were also shown round the building and
the first class facilities, and talked extensively to men and women recovering from and adapting to life- changing injuries.
When they left the building we, the invited guests, were asked to line up along a pathway, and as the princes passed along the line, they stopped occasionally to speak to a few of those assembled. I was standing next to the architect, who was introduced to Prince William, who spoke first to the architect then to me. He seemed particularly impressed by the facilities for children at the centre. I also spoke to the President of H4H, General The Lord (Richard) Dannatt, a former Chief of the General Staff. Prince Harry was reunited with the 30-strong UK team from the Warrior Games, whom he first met on his state visit to the USA and who won in excess of 20 medals.
By this time, the Royal Party was clearly running late, which was not surprising really as they left no stone unturned. Notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, the princes found the time to start the “2013 Hero Ride” by waving the H4H flag.
During the day I was approached by a number of people asking about the Freemasons’ Grand Charity. This gave me the opportunity to talk about our work which was well received. Some had heard of donations by the charity, others had not and were pleasantly surprised. I also spoke with a number of servicemen who are being helped by the centre, and with former servicemen, now volunteers for H4H, including one from Somerset who said he had personally visited a number of lodges in that area to receive cheques and thought freemasons were a “wonderful and generous organisation.”
The vegetable and flower garden, the work on which is now complete, will have a plaque indicating that this facility along with those at the other three centres were paid for by a £50,000 donation from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity. These gardens have not only been found to have recovery benefits but also produce crops for the kitchen! In all, an excellent and most encouraging day for freemasonry.”
Geoff Tuck

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