BARELY a day goes by when Philippa Haig doesn’t leave work with a broad smile and one simple thought – “I’ve helped to make a difference to someone’s life”.
The source of her daily inspiration is Tidworth’s Tedworth House, where Philippa serves as the South Central regional co-ordinator for Help for Heroes Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters.
The fellowship network provides lifetime support for those who are wounded, injured and sick and also helps their loved ones.
“It’s the best job in the world – I’ve met some truly amazing people,’ said Philippa, who lives near Warminster and was an Army wife for more than 25 years.
“We try to give back the banter and bring back all the good things our Servicemen and women have been missing. We are bringing together like-minded people in the same situation. I can see the difference we make from when they first come in – we give them back their spark.”
Philippa’s own interest in Help for Heroes was sparked partly by a change of address, but the desire to help and do more for the charity grew very quickly.
It was eight years ago and living five minutes away from The Tin Hut, in Tidworth, where Help for Heroes started, that Philippa decided to volunteer every Friday.
She said: “I really enjoyed it. It was a great team to work with and I just loved the enthusiasm of the charity – it’s very engaging.”
After five years of volunteering, Philippa decided to take the next leap and has been working for the charity for the past three years. She added: “It’s such a positive environment. Everyone is always happy and smiling – it’s just a great place to be.
“I organise a lot of the family get-togethers that we do and it’s so nice to see the whole family out together having a bit of fun, because sometimes they don’t get that.”
Philippa has had lots of memorable experiences in her time at Help for Heroes, but her best day came at a family event with Wiltshire Wildlife.
“There were children, parents and grandparents there, all outside, all having a marvellous time,” she explained. “It was a brilliant, brilliant day with so much laughter. It’s a seriously rewarding job.”
In her time as an Army wife, Philippa saw first-hand the often-devastating impact of war and the physical and mental consequences for Servicemen and women. When she sees beneficiaries blossom with the assistance of Help for Heroes, it brings a warm glow to her heart.
“It’s seeing a little light that’s been extinguished somewhere along the line coming back on,” she continued. “They find something that makes them feel better – being here at Tedworth House does that for a lot of them.
“It’s being together with other beneficiaries – they get the banter back that they have been missing. They also get opportunities that might not otherwise have had which lights an interest for them.
“It’s a brilliant feeling. It’s good to know we are there and are able to do something positive.”
For more about Help for Heroes, visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk