BAE Systems’ ten thousand employees in Lancashire have chosen to fundraise and work with Blesma, (the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association) for the next two years. The money raised will go towards supporting veterans who have suffered life-changing limb loss and injury.
To mark the launch of the partnership, the company invited Rick Clement, a Blackpool-based veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2010, to speak to employees at both sites about his experiences and his work with Blesma.
As an ambassador for the charity, Rick said: “The partnership with BAE Systems is a great success for Blesma, who have continuously supported me since my injuries. I am fascinated by the engineering that takes place at BAE Systems, so I am excited to speak to employees and look forward to future opportunities.”
Employee Paul Lawrenson, who listened to Rick Clement’s speech, said: ‘’With the support of the Blesma charity, Rick’s life options have been transformed.
He has a very positive outlook and I think people listening here were surprised at how upbeat he was. I feel privileged to have been given an insight into his journey from the battlefield to his new home in Blackpool.”
Members of Blesma’s fund-raising team also spoke to employees about its work providing rehabilitation activities, welfare support and campaigning for the rights of veterans and their families.
Over the next two years, employees from BAE Systems will carry out a range of fund-raising activities including an 18 mile walk between the sites at Warton and Samlesbury. BAE Systems in Lancashire chooses a different charity every two years. The previous charity partners were Combat Stress and Hounds for Heroes, who employees raised over £185k for in total.
Blesma (the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association) was one of around 18,000 charities founded in the First World War, of which only ten are still active. Blesma is a national charity which helps all limbless service men and women, their widows and dependents.