Exmouth charity champ comes out of retirement to aid injured soldiers

EXMOUTH'S charity champion is stepping out of retirement a bid to raise funds for wounded soldiers.

EXMOUTH'S charity champion is stepping out of retirement a bid to raise funds for wounded soldiers.

Lionel Howell, of Cheshire Road, in April 2009 announced because of poor health he was to step down as chairman of the Exmouth 531st Tribute Fund and close the fundraising side of the charity.

This week Mr Howell revealed he has begun organising a fundraising day in support of injured soldiers who have put their life on the line fighting for our country.

Mr Howell said the day of support for injured men and women from the Royal Navy, Army and Airforce will be held in Exmouth's Manor Gardens on August 14.

Every penny raised from the event will be given to the Help for Heroes charity.

Mr Howell is appealing for the community to back his plans and wants to hear from groups, clubs or individuals willing to lend a hand.

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He said insurance to stage the event was �250.

The Exmouth charity stalwart said the fundraiser was a 'one off' and he would not be returning to organise regular events.

Mr Howell admitted he missed coordinating fundraisers, but continuing ill health prevented him from making a full comeback.

He said: "I know I said I was retiring from these things but on New Year's Day a lady called to see me to thank me for all the money I was raising for Help for Heroes because her grandson serving with the rifles was seriously wounded just before Christmas.

"She said she now knew first hand what wonderful work Help for Heroes did for all our wounded servicemen and women and she hoped I would keep supporting them.

"We've all seen the terrible injuries to these brave heroes. Now they need us to help them back to recovery, including this young Exmouth rifleman."

Mr Howell hopes to hear from anyone wiling to appear on stage, or around the gardens, to help raise much-needed funds.

He said: "We want to see dancers, musicians, stall holders, face painters, balloon sellers, in fact anything or anyone who wishes to support our many service personnel by helping us raise funding for them via Help for Heroes."

Since Mr Howell became chairman in 1997, the 531st Tribute Fund has raised �69,000 for the community - plus the �15,000 costs of the memorials.

For more information about the August event, or to lend a hand, contact Mr Howell on (01395) 276613, or contact the Journal on (01392) 888507.

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