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Veterans receive new woodwork machine specially designed for disabled users

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A CAMPAIGN to raise funds for specialist woodcraft facilities at a Help for Heroes recovery centre has been given a boost by a US firm.

Phoenix House recovery centre in Catterick Garrison has recently opened a purpose-built workshop to cater for the popular demand of the classes for wounded, injured and sick veterans and personnel, run by volunteer Chris Morgan.

Mr Morgan has driven the campaign to benefit the woodwork group, which has resulted in money, equipment, tools and wood pouring in from the woodworking community around the world.

The first machine to arrive at the workshop at Phoenix House was a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) woodworking machine – adapted for people in wheelchairs and donated by US firm, Legacy Builder.

Director of the Utah business Andy Anderson personally delivered his £6,900-worth contribution to the project in order to commission the machine, and train Phoenix House volunteers in how to use it.

The machine designs objects with a computer programme which are then cut then into pieces of wood.

“It’s a very small thing that I have done compared to the wounded servicemen who are going to use it – they are the ones who have made the real sacrifice,” said Mr Anderson.

He was made aware of the therapeutic benefits of woodwork by a Vietnam veteran who bought a machine from him and now runs workshops for new veterans.

He added: “It’s not so much about woodwork but about sitting in a room with people that have shared experiences.”

Mr Anderson was alerted to the campaign by one of his UK customers, Wayne Mack, who was at the 2013 North of England Woodworking and Power Tool Show – where the appeal was launched by Mr Morgan.

Phoenix House is the first Help for Heroes recovery centre to have its own dedicated woodworking facility – made possible through donations from New Zealand, Canada, US and UK.

Mr Morgan said: “Learning new skills is a key part of that support, and the woodshed and all the tools in it help us to expand the range of skills that we can offer the centre users.

“The way the woodworking fraternity has got behind our appeal has been beyond all expectations and we can’t thank them enough – and we are immensely grateful to Andy Anderson of Legacy.”

To support the Northern Echo’s £100,000 appeal for a performing arts centre at Phoenix House, contact the centre on 01748-834148, or donate

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