Former Mayor raises nearly £11,000 for charity

Over the last 12 months, the Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Cllr Lee Brownson, has raised a total of £10,739.50 for his chosen charity, Help For Heroes.

In addition to his own mayoral events, which have included a comedy night, carvery, quiz night and a civic ball at Auckland Castle, Lee has attended over 200 events in the town and across the region.

Cllr Brownson, who was replaced as mayor by Cllr Ann Golightly, said: “Now that my role as the Mayor of Bishop Auckland has ended, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me over the past year.

“It’s been quite exhausting and a challenge, due to working full time along with my other commitments, but it’s been 100% worth it!

“I’ve met so many worthwhile individuals, groups and organisations from all areas of the town while supporting schoolchildren, opening new shops, presenting awards, attending community events and even presenting a bouquet of flowers to the oldest resident in Bishop Auckland!”

“Finally, to raise over £10,000 for my chosen charity, Help For Heroes, is incredible.

“It gave me great honour to hand over the cheque to one of the veterans, Ken Nash, and regional manager, Tony Eaton, and I’m sure every penny will be appreciated and well spent.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of everyone who has supported me over the last year.”

Ken Nash served for 18 years with the 17/24s which became the Queens Royal Lancer and was medically discharged in 2010 with PTSD.

Once discharged, Ken spent a lot of time seeing different doctors and trying to come to terms with how his brain was reacting differently to certain sounds and smells.

He was referred to a number of different agencies before somebody recommended he visited Help for Heroes at a Recovery Centre in Phoenix House, Catterick.

It took Ken three attempts to walk through the door.

“Because it’s not a physical injury and you can’t see anything, it’s hard to admit to yourself that there is something wrong,” he said. “It’s easy to hide away behind closed doors.

“I was in denial and then my family broke up and I knew I had to do something.”

Since discovering the art class offered at Phoenix House, Ken has become a regular visitor.

Mo Usman, Head of Recovery North, said Help for Heroes had been honoured when, in 2015, Mayor Brownson chose the charity as his charity of the year.

He said: “I know Lee visited Phoenix House to learn more about how we help wounded, injured and sick veterans and serving military personnel in the area and I like to think that this experience inspired him to raise much-needed funds for their recovery.

“A recent study by Help for Heroes and King’s College London found that, of the 750,000 men and women who served as Regulars between 1991 and 2014, at least 66,000 need long-term support.

“We cannot continue to help our heroes, like Ken on their long recovery path without support from people like Mayor Brownson and other members of the community.”

Anyone who served in the Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines or Royal Air Force and who needs the support of Help for Heroes at Phoenix House Recovery Centre can self-refer by calling 01748 834148.

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