A veteran from Norwich hosted a day of banger racing at Swaffham Raceway as he took his total fundraising for Help for Heroes to more than £2,500 across the past few years.
Josh Green, 32, spent 11 years in the Royal Engineers before being medically discharged, in 2019, as a result of a shoulder injury. He now runs a garage in Norwich where he repairs and soups up the same vehicles he helps to smash up again every weekend.
“Coming out of the army, I threw myself into banger racing. I just build cars, race cars, and smash cars up; then repair them and put them back out again.
“Help for Heroes has helped me enormously through the last three-and-a-bit years since I was medically discharged. Recently, I was in London for some MRI scans on my shoulder, at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, and it was Help for Heroes that got me in there. The charity has done more for me with my shoulder injury than the Army did in five years.
“I wear a shoulder brace now. I shouldn’t really banger race, but the doctors and nurses said they understand it’s my hobby and let me get on with it. It’s my way of coping with life out of the military and they’re really supportive.
“I’m a bit of an odd case to them, because the majority in my condition, with the same injury, don’t work, whereas I’m still working full-time and race bangers in my leisure time.”
“I was medically discharged because I couldn’t fire weapons anymore and couldn’t progress through the ranks because of the injury. The Army said there was nothing more that could be done for my shoulder, but then Help for Heroes started doing some digging and found some other avenues to help ease the pain. This event is my way of giving back.”
The recent War of the Worlds banger racing event at Swaffham raised around £720 for the Armed Forces charity taking the total for the annual event, since 2021 to more than £2,500. It comprises teams of five drivers, each of whom races twice before all teams join in for the final race.
Before the racing starts there is a parade lap where the cars follow round a tank, loaned to the event by the Norfolk Tank Museum.
In the three years of the event, it has become something of a Green family occasion, with Josh’s 69-year-old uncle, Mike Green, even driving with him in the same team.
“My mum and dad are always very supportive, helping to get the raffle prizes together and running the fundraising stall. My partner and kids are really supportive, too. This year my nan and auntie helped to run the stall, as well, so I could concentrate on the racing.
“The drivers I’ve raced against over the last few years back the event and race, and even some who have gone on to different formulas come back every year to do this event. I’m very grateful for all their support and the support of Craig Robinson, at Swaffham, who just lets me get on with it. He knows how passionate I am about it.”
Help for Heroes’ Senior Fundraising Manager, Sarah Whattam, said:
“All our fundraisers are heroes to us, but it’s always especially touching when somebody we’ve helped goes that extra bit further to help bring in funds to support their contemporaries. We’re grateful to Josh and his fellow drivers and supporters for the effort that goes into this annual event – and long may it prosper.”
Help for Heroes champions the Armed Forces community and helps them live well after service. The charity helps them, and their families, to recover and get on with their lives. It has already supported more than 30,000 people and won’t stop until every veteran gets the support they deserve.
The charity supports veterans, and their families, from any branch of the UK military – regulars or reserves – irrespective of length or place of service, and locally embedded civilians (and their families) who worked alongside our Armed Forces.
To get support, please visit: helpforheroes.org.uk.