AN ARMY of volunteers have helped raise hundreds of pounds for a charity close to the communities of Tidworth and Ludgershall.

Throughout Tesco’s National Collection Weekend on August 10 and 11 volunteers manned the collection buckets at the Tidworth store and raised over £800 Help for Heroes.

The team was delighted by the support of Tesco shoppers who gave generously across the weekend, with many stopping for a chat and to shake hands with the ever-popular Help for Heroes mascot, Hero Bear, who made a guest appearance on the day to help raise awareness of the collection and show his appreciation to all those who donated.

Alec Brown, head of local community at Tesco, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be able to support Help for Heroes with collections at Tesco stores across the country. It was great to see so many fundraisers in stores and we want to thank customers and colleagues for giving so generously to this worthwhile cause.”

Jill MacDonald, one of the volunteer team, added: “I had a brilliant time at the Tesco Collection, with the Tesco staff being very helpful and joining in with us plus Hero Bear was a great attraction, especially with the children.”

Jill, who lives in Ludgershall with her husband Tony, also a Help for Heroes volunteer, became a volunteer for Help for Heroes five years ago as, coming from an army background herself, it is a cause very close to her heart.

She adds: “Help for Heroes does such wonderful work for our veterans, it makes me feel proud to be a part of it. I would urge anyone to apply now – it’s the best thing I ever did. You meet lots of interesting people and make new friends. I couldn’t imagine my life without volunteering for Help for Heroes. As well as giving I receive a lot from them.”

Since 2011, collections in Tesco stores in support of Help for Heroes have raised over £1m to help the charity support Armed Forces personnel who have suffered from injury or illness as a result of their service. The retailer also supports the charity in other ways, such as stocking products that support Help for Heroes in its stores and providing relevant skills when needed at its recovery centres.