A HELP for Heroes recovery centre is urging people to join in its first birthday celebrations and raise some funds for the charity along the way.

Phoenix House recovery centre in Catterick Garrison, which helps wounded, injured and sick veterans and service personnel, officially opened on September 17 last year – and to mark the date the charity is holding what it calls its ‘H for Heroes Day’.

Phoenix House is challenging individuals, businesses and community organisations such as schools, youth clubs and sport groups, to use an activity beginning with H for the Northern Echo’s £100,000 First World War centenary campaign.

Centre manager Mo Usman said it was a simple idea but one that he hoped would catch the public’s imagination and result in a huge boost for the campaign.

He said: “You could be sponsored to do anything from hopping, humming and hill-walking to having your head shaved; or sell hot dogs, honey, home-made cakes or handicrafts.

“Employers could encourage staff to pay a nominal fee to wear a hat or helmet for the day and schools let pupils dress as their favourite hero in return for a £1 donation.

“There are so many activities beginning with H once you start to think about it.”

Since Phoenix House opened, hundreds of wounded, injured and sick service personnel, veterans and families have received support – through confidence-boosting sporting challenges, education courses delivered by the MoD, welfare advice from the support hub or trying new activities.

The Echo’s Centenary Campaign aims to raise £100,000 to fund a performing arts facility at Phoenix House.

Editor Peter Barron said many readers had already sent generous donations to the appeal but welcomed the H for Heroes Day as a way for Help for Heroes supporters to be creative and have fun at the same time as fundraising.

He said: “The scope is so wide that there is potential for everyone to do their bit without it costing them anything but their time.

“We would love to fill a whole page in the paper on Thursday, September 18 with photographs reflecting the range of whacky ‘H-activities’ that our readers have conjured up in aid of such a great cause.

Let the Echo know how you are marking H for Heroes Day on Wednesday, September 17 and your event could feature in the paper.

To donate visit http://www.bmycharity.com/100kfor100yearsNorthernEchoAppeal; or by cheque, accompanied by the form at http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/resources/files/31397, to Phoenix House, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, DL9 3AW. It is important that you use the form in order to ensure that your donation is ring-fenced for Phoenix House.