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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Wounded hero’s 450-mile road to recovery

This news post is about 9 years old

​Veteran undertakes grueling cycle to raise cash for forces' charity

An RAF veteran who lives in Glasgow is to travel 450 miles from Edinburgh to Windsor on a road to recovery from mental health problems.

Former intelligence analyst Helen Bolland was on target for a high-powered career until, after serving in Iraq in 2005, she began to experience mental health problems such as paranoia, insomnia and nightmares.

Medically discharged from the RAF in 2008 and not knowing where to go for help, her condition continued to deteriorate until, in 2012, a friend suggested she contact the armed forces' charity Help for Heroes.

Despite facing years of physical and mental challenges, she believes she is now fit enough to embark on the fundraising ride and determined to prove that there is life after injury.

She will be riding a specially adapted bike, called a recumbent cycle, for the Hero Ride challenge.

During several stays at the charity's Phoenix House in Catterick, Helen took part in bike rides, archery sessions and swimming and also received lots of help from the support hub.

Staff there helped her apply for an access course at Glasgow University, where she hopes to study law, and look for suitable accommodation nearby.

“I love living in a central location. It’s really helping me with some of my goals,” said Helen, whose parents live in Girvan.

“Due to nerve pain and problems with the discs in my back, my walking has become so poor over the last year and I have been having a lot of falls because of this.

"Swimming and cycling are two sports I don't need to be able to stand up for or worry about falling over.

"I know I will be one of the slowest on Hero Ride but at least I will be able to take in all the scenery that those at the front will miss because they are going so fast.”

Aftere the 450-mile journey, the 2,000-strong cycle peloton will sweep past Windsor Castle and onto the town’s racecourse for a barbeque and family celebrations on 21 June.

The registration fee for Hero Ride North 450 is £125 and for the 260 is £95.