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Cricket For Heroes Team Heads To West Indies

The Cricket For Heroes team ready for depart for Barbados
The Cricket For Heroes team ready for depart for Barbados
©Cricket For Heroes

A team of remarkable cricketers will arrive in the West Indies this weekend, made up of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women as part of Help For Heroes' extensive Sports Recovery Programme.

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Help for Heroes has been involved with Sports Recovery for six years, and in the past year alone have put on 300 events across 50 different sports enabling over 1,800 wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in adaptive sports.

To keep up to date with the cricket tour and other activities on the Help for Heroes' Sports Recovery Programme, follow @H4H_SR on Twitter or check out the website.

They will use cricket to help overcome perceived limitations of their physical and psychological injuries during a two-week tour.

The charity offers 300 different sporting opportunities using the camaraderie of sport as part of a broader recovery journey to help participants overcome life-changing illnesses and injuries.

The group will arrive in Barbados on Monday 3rd November and play five games against local Barbadian clubs, helping them physically and socially.

Cricket For Heroes has already raised more than £40,000 for Help For Heroes by playing local teams in Wiltshire and has raised its own funds for this tour, which for the 16 players involved, is the culmination of months of hard work and determination.

Alan McClelland, head of Psychological Wellbeing for Help For Heroes, says the tour will be enormously beneficial as part of the recovery process for the players.

"When you get injured, your confidence can reach rock bottom and it is very easy to believe you will never play sport again," he said.

"It is hard to appreciate what playing cricket and being part of a team gives to these men and women.

"I know how effective and life reaffirming these adventures can be and I'm sure every one of the team will have taken a huge step forward in their recovery after the tour."

Fiona Gray served in the Army for nearly 20 years before an ankle injury led to her being medically discharged.

Unable to play sports for the last three years, she pays tribute to the work the charity has done in helping get her back into a sporting environment.

"Being part of the Help for Heroes cricket team and preparing for this tour has helped me experience team spirit once again and has given me a huge amount of confidence," she said.

"Help for Heroes has played such a significant role in my recovery, and being part of a team has helped me to successfully focus on what I can do rather than dwell on what I can’t."

For Jason Wilkes, a former royal engineer who suffered injuries in Iraq and Northern Ireland before being discharged with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), this tour has a role to play in raising awareness.

"It is not just for me, but it is to show everybody suffering from PTSD or mental health problems that you can still get out there and do something," he said.

"Hopefully the tour will show others that you can become involved in activities and you do not have to suffer in silence."

© Cricket World 2014