Opinion Former Article

St Dunstan's: BFBS Big Salute supports St Dunstan's

On Saturday 2nd May, BFBS television (British Forces Broadcasting Services) will launch their annual fundraiser: 'The Big Salute'. The year-long campaign will encourage British Forces communities, family and friends from around the globe to help raise money for St Dunstan's and four other nominated Service charities.

BFBS also supported St Dunstan's in their inaugural Big Salute in 2008, raising over £100,000 for us and four other organisations. This year, St Dunstan's, BLESMA, Veteran's Aid, Combat Stress, Hedley Court have been nominated.

The fundraiser will kick off on BFBS Television at 4:45pm on Saturday 2nd May with a special Big Salute launch show. As part of the show, short films about each of the charities will feature. The show will be broadcast to troops and family overseas and in addition, BFBS will be streaming the show live on the web so those in the UK can watch online. The show will continue throughout the week on BFBS Radio - which is available on digital and online formats.

The campaign will run for a year and BFBS hope that fundraising events held throughout the year will contribute towards the total funds raised.

Tony Hadley, Ricky Tomlinson and Charlie Boorman are among the famous faces backing the campaign.

The St Dunstan's film will feature St Dunstaner Chris Nowell, former Lance Corporal in the Kings Royal Hussars who sustained a serious head injury in Increman, Afghanistan following a rocket attack on his base. As well as treatment at Selly Oak and several operations, Chris has received a great deal of support from St Dunstan's. Local to the Sheffield area, Chris now attends the Sheffield centre regularly: he's there for three days every week for IT training and to build on other independent living skills.

On Monday 27th April, BFBS headed to Sheffield to film with Chris and dedicated St Dunstan's Staff. IT trainer Dave Hickey supported Chris for a session demonstrating his touch typing and proficient use of audio software. ROVI (Rehabilitation Officer for Visually Impaired People) Cath Klaces undertook a session showing Chris how to safely prepare vegetables, demonstrating various techniques and strategies to use peeling and chopping equipment without sight. Using a long cane, Chris showed how he has been taught to navigate stairs using touch.

It was clear to see the rapport Chris has built with staff at St Dunstan's and the role they have played in his ongoing rehabilitation. BFBS were impressed with the level of specialist support offered and the facilities available. Chris and his father-in-law explained that he had made significant progress thanks to St Dunstan's and was becoming increasingly confident and independent.

For more information, or to watch the show live on Saturday 2nd, go to The Big Salute website:

www.ssvc.com/bfbs/bigsalute

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