By Clare Dingwall – Event Organiser
Total Raised To Date £127,516.08
How Polo for Heroes Began
Chef Tristan Welch and I were lucky enough to attend the superb Chefs for Heroes dinner
at the Guild Hall in October of 2009 and enjoyed each other’s company during the meal.
As the evening progressed it became apparent to us that we all have a duty to the servicemen and women, no matter what our political views, who on a daily basis put their lives on the line for our country and us.
After hearing stories from those who have been wounded in conflict which was both incredibly eye-opening and humbling, our conversation turned to what could WE do to help?
What better than a gastronomic polo tournament, Polo for Heroes!
After the success of Polo for Heroes in 2010, we decided to make it an
The Beginning of “Heroes for Freedom” www.heroesforfreedom.co.uk
A fantastic opportunity came our way in 2012. Marketing City Group from the United Kingdom and the US company, Incentives by Design offered us the chance to take 24 injured soldiers for a trip of a lifetime to Las Vegas!
We teamed up with Help for Heroes, Band of Brothers and The Irish Guards Appeal Fund and so Heroes for Freedom came to be.
The trip in April 2012 was spectacular! The American
public welcomed our injured troops like the true Heroes they are,
raising their morale through the roof and making them feel truly valued
for what they have done.
The Native American Indian Hualapai Tribe, in the Grand Canyon honoured our braves with an incredibly moving ceremony and 21
gun salute. We even made it onto Colorado Breakfast TV!
A comment that stood out above all others was, “This has given me the time and support I needed to deal with the demons inside my head.”
We soon came to realise that the benefit the soldiers received from the trip surpassed all our hopes.
“In April 2014 and May 2016 we repeated the Las Vegas trip and both times were equally as awesome as the first.
“It is very difficult to explain the depth of the organiser’s achievement in bringing injured, vulnerable lads to a dream location and one-off experience, particularly on a therapeutic level. Us lads shared stories, tales of injuries, lost comrades, their own struggles, family issues, friend issues, welfare, medical, you mention it. As one told their story or shared problems others grew the strength to tell theirs and this became infectious in a good way. The “Zone” was an open and safe one. After all the confidentiality was a given, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!” I know for a fact that many of us moved further down the recovery line than weeks or even months on a psychologist couch,”
Heroes Ride 4 Recovery, October 2017, Rajasthan
250km in 7 days, camping overnight, with temperatures in excess of 35 degrees and with horses that were unfaltering, true warriors unfazed by the numerous obstacles in their paths.
We experienced India in its most beautiful yet primitive form.
During the trip, we met a wonderful little girl who visited our campsite with offerings of marigolds and other precious flowers. She brought us a trophy which she had received for excellence in mathematics. She told us she was very proud of winning this trophy but wanted us to have it as a gift. The “Sultana Trophy” is now played each year at the Polo for Heroes Tournament and holds some very dear and humble memories.
“Every one of us came with one common denominator, to overcome our own personal hurdles, to free the mind and to push ourselves outside of the comfort zone. The personal memories that we took away will stay with us for a lifetime. The therapeutic power of horses should never be underestimated, we experienced real horsepower in every sense of the word,” Rebecca.
“Sitting on horseback had the most profound effect on me and one I hadn’t expected. I instantly felt at home and ‘in-tune’ with my horse. Whilst riding, all life’s worries, anxiety, stress, depression and other distractions evaporated. I hadn’t felt so ‘normal’ for years! I was truly astonished by the extent that riding could be so therapeutic, liberating and exhilarating. It reminded me how great the World can be. It gave enjoyment and restored confidence. It gave me hope!” Fraser.
Baphumelele, December 2019, Cape Town
Back to Polo for Heroes at Fifield Polo Club, Windsor.
We are continuing to support Help for Heroes and The Irish Guards Appeal Fund with a minimum donation of £500 to each. We will also be raising funds for more R&R trips for our injured troops.
Come and join in the fun, chat to some of our Heroes and make a difference!
Look forward to seeing you there