Forces Charities

Help For Heroes' Biggest-Ever Individual Fundraiser Hits £500,000 Goal

Steve Craddock, a former Royal Engineer, has devoted 12 years of life to raising money for service personnel and veterans.

The man Help for Heroes has named as their biggest-ever individual fundraiser has reached his goal of single-handedly raising £500,000.

Steve Craddock, a former Royal Engineer, has devoted 12 years of his life to raising money for fellow service personnel and veterans.

He was on track for his half-a-million-pound target last year but then coronavirus hit.

It forced two charity rides in France, a ride across Spain and his own sportive for veterans to be cancelled.

But, even at the height of the pandemic, he managed to pull off a socially distanced 420-mile bike ride to reach his fundraising goal.

Mr Craddock told Forces News: "It’s been a pain, this last year or so, but I’m really chuffed, it's nice to get the odd pat on the back and stuff like that but… there’s so much more to do."

His efforts come at a time when Help For Heroes needs the help most.

The charity has said demand for its mental health services has risen by almost a third during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Steve Craddock, Help for Heroes biggest ever individual fundraiser, on his bike
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Craddock still completed a 420-mile bike ride to hit his target (Picture: Help For Heroes).

Help For Heroes CEO Mel Waters told Forces News the charity predicts "about 30% of [their] fundraising income has disappeared" and they "don’t think that will come back quickly".

"People like Steve make such a significant difference and now [it] has been really more important than ever," she said.

"The public have been really restricted in what they can do for us and our charity relies on public income; 97% of our income is publicly fundraised.

"We don’t have any Government money, so at a time when our services are needed more than ever, our income is down. What Steve does is vital."

Having now hit his target, Mr Craddock said he has "got a lot of life left" and has "got to keep going".

"Whatever my money’s done to help other people, it’s helped me, and I’m a better person than I’ve ever been in my life," he added.