Award-winning fundraiser ready to step down

West Sussex County Times Community Awards 2015: David Owen (right) with James Burns from Help For Heroes and Ruth Dewdney from award sponsor Amberley Museum

West Sussex County Times Community Awards 2015: David Owen (right) with James Burns from Help For Heroes and Ruth Dewdney from award sponsor Amberley Museum

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After raising nearly £150,000, award-winning Help for Heroes fundraiser David Owen is finally making plans to retire.

In a farewell email to his supporters last month, he said: “All of you have helped in various ways over the past five years, mainly financial, to help raise donations for our wounded Servicemen and Women.

“With your help and also that of the great British public, I have managed to raise over £150,000 for them and their families and was going to finish last summer but suddenly realised that this figure included Gift Aid.

“True to form, I think it more fitting to raise that sum without the help of Gift Aid which meant that I was about £7,000 short.”

This week David, 86, from Steyning, told the County Times that he is well on course to reach his target by the end of January.

“It’s been an amazing ride and, frankly, I don’t know what I’ll do when I’ve done this,” he said.

David said being at home will give him time to help his wife, who uses a wheelchair.

“I’ll be a carer I suppose,” he said, “but if somebody comes along with something interesting...

“I’ve retired five times before, but I really feel this time’s the final one.”

David won the Best Fundraiser Award at this year’s County Times Community Awards.

As well as collecting his trophy, he took the opportunity to take some donations, collecting around £150.

“It all helps,” he said.

David was in his early 80s when he decided to do a parachute jump for injured ex-forces personnel.

A Korean War veteran himself, he felt there was a shocking lack of support for disabled veterans.

“Everyone says how terrible it is that it’s happening, but nobody’s doing anything,” he said.

“Help for Heroes is doing very well at building houses for them, and finding jobs so that they don’t end up on the street.

“So I went and did a parachute jump.”

The following year, he was sponsored to challenge Sir Henry Cooper to three one-minute rounds in the boxing ring.

Since then, he has been involved in countless fundraising events either as an organiser, participant, or collector of donations.

You can support him via http://www.bmycharity.com/davidsparajump until the end of December.

For more information on Help for Heroes, visit: http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk

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