LONDON, September 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
Felix Fund, a new charity for Army bomb-disposal experts, is being launched later this week (Thursday, 15 September) at a reception in the House of Lords, hosted by Lord Ashcroft.
Speaking today, Lord Ashcroft said:
"Bomb disposal experts are a small and unique group of men and women. Across the UK and overseas, they repeatedly employ truly astonishing levels of courage in order to save countless lives. Yours could be one of them. I urge you to support them and their new charity, Felix Fund"
Felix Fund is based at the headquarters of 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment of the Royal Logistical Corps, at Vauxhall Barracks, Didcot, Oxfordshire.
The men and women of 11 EOD serve wherever British troops or civilians are in danger and, with 454 honours, medals and awards, it is the Army's most decorated unit.
11 EOD Regiment is permanently deployed on the front-line in Afghanistan. They also served continuously throughout the Iraq campaign, and remain on 24-hour alert across Northern Ireland and the UK mainland.
Felix Fund's target is to raise £1 million from supportive individuals and companies:
The money will be spent on:
- Sending bomb-disposal experts on therapeutic 'normalisation' breaks on their return from Afghanistan;
- Meeting individual needs through the Felix Fund Hardship Fund;
- Improving on-camp facilities for EOD units: eg making wi-fi access available to 11 EOD soldiers and their families across all 16 of their locations.
It is often easier to cope with any difficult experience if there are others around you in exactly the same boat. Unlike most soldiers, bomb disposal experts deploy as individuals, not in large groups. They form 4-man teams in Afghanistan, but on their return, disperse to different UK bases. The strong team bond forged during the gruelling and often distressing months in theatre are abruptly broken, and to a degree, each team member must readjust to 'normal life' in isolation. Felix Fund normalisation breaks re-unite EOD teams in a civilian environment several weeks after their return, for a week of adventure sports, socializing and relaxation. This enables the team to support each other as they readjust to a society, which may not know - or perhaps care - what they have been through.
Wi-fi access: bomb-disposal experts spend more time away from home than many other types of soldier, whether in training or on operations. Wi-fi enables unbroken contact with loved ones. Felix Fund also aims to improve other on-camp facilities for UK EOD units, such as playgrounds and community centres.
Individual needs: Individual soldiers and families from time to time need financial assistance to overcome specific difficulties if sufficient help is not available elsewhere: eg emergency travel to see a relative who is seriously ill overseas, specialist mobility equipment following serious injury, help with funeral expenses.
- Felix, the cat with nine lives, is the mascot of RLC Bomb Disposal;
- In Afghanistan, EOD teams can be called upon to disarm as many as 40 lethal explosive devices a day;
- In the UK, 11 EOD completes 3,000 bomb disposal tasks a year;
- Felix Fund's trustees are all serving bomb disposal experts;
- 'Felix' started life as the radio call sign of an EOD team in Northern Ireland.
Felix Fund is a Registered Charity, No. 1142494
SOURCE Felix Fund