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The Prime Minister visited injured veterans and Paralympians today at a state-of-the-art Help for Heroes facility in Wiltshire today.
It was David Cameron’s first visit to Tedworth House, in Tidworth, one of the charity’s four UK-wide recovery centres.
During the visit he toured the Phoenix Centre, a new £3 million sports facility which offers some of the UK’s most advanced adaptive sports facilities and technology to the wounded.
While in the gym he met with injured soldiers Staff Sergeant Steve Arnold, Sergeant Simon Harmer and Jonpaul Nevin, who will all take part in the Hero Ride.
Mr Cameron was in Wiltshire to launch the 2013 Hero Ride, which will take place on June 2,. Thousands of cyclists will be making their presence known in London.
They will have ridden their bikes from all corners of the country and abroad, before meeting at Blackheath and cycling together in a staged mass ride into central London in support of wounded servicemen and women.
The aim is to raise £1 million for Help for Heroes to provide support for those who have suffered life-changing injuries.
Mr Cameron said: “I am delighted to be here to launch the Hero Ride 2013.
“It is an excellent idea, people coming from all over the place, converging on Blackheath, going to the Cenotaph, raising masses of money at the same time.
“I have to credit Help for Heroes for coming up with more ingenious ideas for tougher and tougher challenges, riding across America, doing this ride, for raising money for such a good cause.”
The Prime Minister also met with triple Paralympic silver medallist Jon-Allan Butterworth and a number of the injured soldiers’ families.
Mr Cameron called on the public to show their support for the armed forces by taking part in the 2013 Hero Ride.
“It’s been a very moving experience because this is a fantastic place, Tedworth House, and all credit to Help for Heroes for what they have done to help raise the money and provide such incredible facilities,” he said.
“But it is also humbling to meet the men and women and their families, who have given so much for our country and frankly, we owe them so much, not just now, not just at the moment at which they are still in the forces or leaving the forces, but for the rest of their lives and that’s what places like this represent.”
He added: “I never fail to be amazed by the sheer grit and determination of our forces and what they can achieve both on and off the battlefield.
“I, like the rest of the country, have nothing but admiration for them.”
Bike riders will set off from all corners of the country and abroad from May 20 next year.
This will include the Help for Heroes organised Big Battlefield Bike Ride which will come from Paris, before meeting at Blackheath.
While in central London they will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in memory of those who lost their lives in previous conflicts, cycle past Buckingham Palace, up The Mall before the mass ride culminates at Horse Guards Parade.
Bryn Parry, CEO and co-founder of Help for Heroes, said: “With the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan coming ever closer, people will think that the job is done.
“The war may end but for our wounded, the battle will have only just begun.
“We must not forget them. We will pledge to support our young men and women, and their families, now and as they grow old and will be there for life.”
Tedworth House aims to inspire the wounded, injured and sick and returning veterans to lead active, independent lives and to support them and their families for life.
The Phoenix Centre includes a Skiplex, SwimEx, Strength and Conditioning gym and team sports gymnasium.