On 9th June 2011 Kevin Mitchell from the charity Help For Heroes visited College to pick up a cheque for £620, raised at a special art auction organised by Dale Cochrane, Lecturer at Bradford School of Arts & Media.
Dale explained, “My cousin, Daniel Saville, died in Afghanistan last year. He had served in the army but he was a bodyguard when he was killed, aged forty-two. Daniel had he planned to climb Mount Kilimanjaro later that year for Help For Heroes but he died before he got chance, so I thought that I would continue his efforts.
I came up with an art auction and asked staff and students to contribute and the majority of people just donated their work. We held the event in Victoria Hall, Saltaire on Saturday 9th April. It was great fun and brought people together. Damien O’Keeffe, Curriculum Team Leader for Media, Music and Performing Arts, was a great auctioneer and people were keen to contribute as it was such a good cause. It was also a good way for artists to have their work seen by a new audience. Some people who came said they were encouraged to start buying art and it was an opportunity for collectors. The event was well supported and everyone said it was such a positive experience that we should do it again.
I will certainly do something personally for Help For Heroes who do such important work for the wounded whether they are still serving or not, getting them things like prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation. From a personal perspective I want to support their work for those suffering post-traumatic stress. My cousin Daniel couldn’t adjust to civilian life after the trauma he had experienced which is why he went back. It is an invisible epidemic. I know others who are there now and another who died in an accident as a result of the infrastructure there, not enemy fire. Every day is a risk for civilians and soldiers and when they come home damaged by it they need longterm help.”
Kevin Mitchell thanked Dale wholeheartedly for his efforts. Kevin, who was injured as a serviceman in the 1970s, is now a tireless campaigner for the charity, working virtually fulltime on a purely voluntary basis to raise awareness and promote its essential work. Kevin disclosed, “Three hundred service men and women have been killed so far in Afghanistan but there are one hundred and forty injured coming back every month. The mental cost is even higher. While you are out there, no one has time to think about it. But when you come home you can’t tell your mum or your mates down the pub about or what you have seen and felt; how many mates you lost or contacts you made. The charity,which is non poltical and only started in 2007 had raised £100m by last week, but we have already spent £99m and we have a wishlist of £42m. At the moment we are building five personal recovery centres including our flagship Tedworth House, with one-stop-shops to continue rehabilitation. A lot cannot stay in the forces due to their injuries but we need to support them so they can recover and participate. In the 2012 Olympics you will see the largest intake of paraplegics, many of whom are ex-service personnel.”
Dale will be arranging for Kevin to return to College in the autumn to give a presentation to students about the invaluable work of Help For Heroes so they can get involved in fundraising projects.