A Morpeth man who founded a group that uses pedal power to bring in money for good causes has received a prestigious honour from a national charity.
Giles Evans was among a select group of fund-raisers and volunteers championed at Help for Heroes’ (H4H) annual Hero Awards ceremony.
The event recognised those who have made a huge difference to the lives of those who have become wounded, injured or sick in the line of duty and their families.
Throughout the evening, 35 awards were handed out. The categories included Outstanding Fund-raising and Commitment, Services Above and Beyond the Call of Duty and Extraordinary Bravery and Dedication to H4H.
Mr Evans, a Detective Constable with Northumbria Police, is the founding member of Toon To Town – a group of long-distance cyclists, many of whom are also policemen, which regularly raises money for charities on an annual basis.
H4H has been included as a beneficiary since Mr Evans, who has two stepbrothers in the military, first visited the Phoenix House recovery centre in Catterick three years ago and ‘was completely blown away by the work of H4H’.
The facility has 50 en-suite bedrooms, including four family rooms, a support hub enabling access to a wide range of welfare support, an arts room, a state-of-the-art gym, a wood workshop, social areas, a café and a wellbeing studio, as well as training, presentation and IT suites.
Since then, he has met several of the charity’s beneficiaries, who attend the group’s annual black-tie dinner.
This year, to commemorate his 50th birthday, he took part in the charity’s Hero Ride from Edinburgh to Windsor. A fortnight later, he was back in the saddle with Toon To Town cycling from Llanelli in Wales to Newcastle.
Mr Evans received a Hero Award for outstanding fund-raising and dedication through the Toon to Town challenge and said he was extremely proud to accept it on behalf of the group.
He added: “This has been five years of hard work by all for a fantastic charity.
“We have seen first-hand where that money goes. It’s been a privilege to meet and support the wounded, injured and sick who use the superb facilities at Phoenix House.
“I would like to thank all those who have supported us and donated over the years, as without them, the fantastic sum of £50,000 would not have been raised.”
Launched in 2010 by H4H co-founders Bryn and Emma Parry, the Hero Awards are a way of celebrating and saying thank you to extraordinary supporters for voluntarily going above and beyond and giving up their time to assist the charity.
The accolades are presented to the winners by wounded men and women who have benefitted first-hand from their efforts.
Mr Parry said: “The Hero Awards are our way of recognising our generous supporters. Their dedication and commitment never ceases to both amaze and humble me.
“Their limitless enthusiasm to do their bit for the blokes is incredibly valuable and really does make a difference in helping us with our mission to provide life-long support to our wounded, injured and sick.”