Paddle back with Purple Warriors

A new dragon boat club has emerged to join the thousands worldwide, but this one is different. Purple Warriors is a club solely for serving and retired members of HM Forces who, as a result of their service to this country, are suffering from some form of impairment. This is a world first. This is a club intended to smash society’s preconceptions about impairments by creating a team that will compete against crews that have no paddlers with impairments …. and win.

Purple Warriors will build on the qualities of discipline, professionalism, endeavour and personal sacrifice that have defined our fighting men and women for centuries. Dragon boating is a global sport, with its own national, continental and world championships. A dragon boat has 20 paddlers, a drummer and a helm and typically races over 200m, 500m, 1,000m and 2km. It’s fast, furious, demanding and highly competitive.

Purple Warriors has been founded by some of GB’s top dragon boaters, supported by a number of others, all inspired to help by the bravery and spirit of impaired servicemen and women. These founders are inspired to want to help these people take on a new challenge in their lives, and to emerge victorious. Indeed, one of the founders – Mark Harding – was severely wounded in Afghanistan in 2010 and told he would probably never walk again. In 2013 he paddled for GB, in an able-bodied crew in China in the inaugural Dragon Boat World Cup, and again in 2014 in the European Dragon Boat Championships!

Initially, Purple Warriors will be based in Wraysbury, west London with subsidiary venues in Exeter and Stockton-on-Tees. The initiative has the support of the Battle Back Programme.

Purple Warriors will compete this year against British able-bodied dragon boat crews. The club has also persuaded the International Dragon Boat Federation to have an impaired crew category in the 2018 World Club Crew Championships and fully intends to compete!

Nigel Bedford, one of the Club’s founders, is a retired Army officer and GB paddler. He said “Purple Warriors is about inspiration and achievement. When the team is in a dragon boat, no one will be able to see anyone’s impairments – what they will see is a crew committed to making a difference for each other and determined to take on the best, and win.”

For further information contact:
Nigel Bedford – principal founder 0771 264 5800
Jennie Henderson – media relations 0781 803 7475

Haig Housing and Walking with the Wounded are working with BBC DIY SOS to provide affordable homes for ex-Service people in Manchester

Haig Housing has an exciting opportunity to provide various types of housing in the Newton Heath are of Manchester and is looking for applicants who might be interested in affordable housing options such as shared equity, discounted purchase price and Rent-to-Buy or general needs rental accommodation options. We have teamed up with Manchester City Council, The BBC DIY SOS The Big Build programme and the charity Walking With The Wounded on a significant empty homes project which will establish a veteran’s community with access to support, education and training in Manchester.
Manchester City Council and Adactus Housing have agreed to give Haig Housing 25 empty homes on Canada Street and New Street in Newton Heath, East Manchester to create an armed forces veterans’ housing community. With street landscaping to provide disabled access and improve the environment, along with a face-lift of all the properties on the streets the project will provide a mix of residential homes (some adapted) and a veteran walk-in support and advice centre which will have a private space for therapy and counselling – run by Walking With The Wounded – and provide a space for community use. 
The BBC’s DIY SOS programme aims to achieve the above refurbishments and works through donation of materials, equipment and on-site labour to veterans and their families. Skills will be donated by contractors and local businesses many of which are already committed including the local Army Reserve (75
th Engineer Regiment) which has offered workforce and equipment.

Team Mackenzie Morgan do the Dirty 30 Challenge

Mackenzie Morgan, in the shape of Malcolm and Will Cox will be taking part in the Lochalsh Dirty 30 Challenge, 30 miles gentle miles in and around Lochalsh on the West Coast of Scotland. It will be completed in a day! There is the little matter of almost 35 years between us; Two officers, one retired and one "newby" a map and a compass, what can go wrong!

We have chosen BEWSA because we are both active sportsmen and associated with the military, a logical fit!

Check out their
Facebook page!

Thanks Malcolm & Will


  • Jack Harrington (11) and John Phillips (15) are going to be climbing 15 peaks in the Lake District during the first week of their Summer School holidays to raise funds for BEWSA, both coming from Military families, this charity has a special meaning for them. Please show them your support by sponsoring them if you can.