Forces Charities

Why Help For Heroes Need Your Old Trainers

Military charity's plea for unwanted running shoes for Tour de Yorkshire land art.

Help For Heroes is on the hunt for unwanted trainers to create some striking land art for the Tour de Yorkshire - using the sports shoes to create a giant heart in a campaign supporting Armed Forces veterans.

Actors Tom Hardy and Antony Cotton and former professional footballers Jan Molby and John Barnes are among those who have already donated trainers to back the project.

The military charity is joining forces with the international cycle race's official artist, Mackenzie Thorpe, to create the artwork which will greet the riders as they dash to the finish of stage two in Bedale on Friday 3 May.

The heart-shaped design will span the size of a football pitch alongside the route of the race in North Yorkshire.

Speaking to Chris Kaye on BFBS Catterick, Event Coordinator Abigail Richardson from Phoenix House recovery centre, where the charity runs its recovery services, said:

"We thought it would be quite interesting to do something along the route that would be caught by the helicopter going over."

The larger than life image at Exelby Bridge will be produced using trainers donated by thousands of people to create a thought-provoking piece of art as part of the Tour de Yorkshire’s Land Art competition.

At the centre of Mackenzie’s artwork will be the Help for Heroes logo and the number ‘7’ which represents the seven individuals who, every day, are medically discharged from the Armed Forces.

Last year alone, up to 2,451 lives were fundamentally changed through either physical or mental issues attributable to their time in service in the British Armed Forces.

The aim is to raise awareness of the issues that face these veterans, and which can impact on them and their families for the rest of their lives, by beaming this message to millions of TV viewers in 190 countries around the world.

The project sees the Tour de Yorkshire’s official artist and the official charity, Help for Heroes, working alongside Bedale High School to collect the massive amount of footwear that will be needed to create the giant image.

The school’s pupils and wounded, injured and sick veterans supported by Help for Heroes’ Phoenix House recovery centre, which is based in Catterick Garrison, will come together to help create the heart image.

Mackenzie has donated a pair of trainers alongside the list of famous names including the actors and footballers.

Now they want members of the public to help complete the huge image by sending or dropping off their unwanted trainers to either Bedale School, Irvings Property on Kings Street in Richmond or BFBS on Horne Rd in Catterick, Yorkshire.

Following the project, the trainers will be auctioned or donated to raise funds for Help for Heroes.