Hunts across the country have raised thousands of pounds for war veterans’ charity Help for Heroes (H4H).

H4H was set up last October by cartoonist and former soldier Bryn Parry to raise money for the Tri Service Rehabilitation Centre near Dorking, Surrey.

It aims to raise £8million to provide a swimming pool and gymnasium at the centre to aid the recovery of wounded servicemen and women.

As part of a national campaign, the Hunting Office, which administers all packs of hounds in the UK, asked if hunts might have a collection or donate the cap from their meets on 23 January.

The Flint & Denbigh raised more than £1,300 in donations at their meet at Cefn village hall in North Wales and the Cotley donated the £2,000 cap from their meet at the home of Ian and Jean Stanford in the Yarty valley, Devon.

Two serving soldiers, Major General Barney White-Spunner and Captain Quentin Hicks, attended the meet.

Capt Hicks said: “While out in Iraq, you feel a million miles away from the West Country and all of you here, but I know that it will be a great boost to the troops to know the support you are giving through this charity.”

Duke of Beaufort’s supporters also dug deep at Mr and Mrs Leslie Milsom’s farm near Sopworth, raising more than £3,700. And the Cotswold raised more than £2,000 at their meet at Tally Ho Farm in Guiting Power, Wiltshire. Donations are still coming in from around 10 other hunts. The money is being collected centrally at the Hunting Office.

Director Alastair Jackson said: “We have no idea of a total because funds have just started coming in. Not everyone had their H4H day on the same day, and some hunts did their own thing — for example, the East Anglian hunts had a special day for the East Anglian regiment.”

Bryn Parry, who is a former Royal Green Jacket, said: “We have had the most overwhelming response to our appeal to support our wounded servicemen and women who have been injured while serving their country.

“It would be wonderful if some of these brave people will eventually be able to take up riding as part of their rehabilitation.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (7 February, ’08)