Help terminally ill Terry to Help the Heroes

Veteran in full army uniform

Determined: Terry Butcher - Credit: Submitted

A veteran from Paignton is pushing ahead with a self-set charity challenge, determined not to let his terminal cancer diagnosis get in his way.

RAF veteran Terry Butcher, 62, is cycling through Devon’s countryside clocking up miles to raise money for the charities who have supported him in recent years. March is his fundraising month for Help for Heroes.

Terry became involved with the Charity in 2015 when he approached them for support for his mobility and mental health issues, resulting from a broken back sustained many years before during service. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Although he received treatment, it spread to his lungs and liver, and is now terminal.

He said: “I previously suffered from depression and learnt that I could overcome that by helping others. I volunteered in the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Plymouth while the charity was supporting me up to the pandemic, but with that not open at the moment I wanted to help in another way.

“I was a racing cyclist in the Airforce when I was a lot younger. It helps me mentally and physically. I can’t change anything in my future without somebody helping me along the way. What I’m doing I don’t feel is nearly enough for the support I’ve had but I’ll do what I can.”

Army veteran in uniform with his parents

In younger days: Terry and his parents - Credit: Submitted

Terry set a goal of 100 miles a month raising money for a different charity who has helped him. He only expected to raise around £100 per charity but has been overwhelmed by the support, raising over £2,000 for SSAFA and the RAF Benevolent Fund so far. 

Since the start of the pandemic Help for Heroes has experienced a surge in demand for its services. During the first lockdown there was a 33 per cent increase in those coming forward for mental health support compared to last year and a 30 per cent increase in referrals to its veterans’ clinical services. With a 30 per cent reduction in income expected in coming years, support is needed now more than ever.

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To follow Terry’s journey and donate in support of Help for Heroes, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/terrence-butcher1 To date he has raised over £300 but hopes to make it to at least £400.