By James Crook

Help for Heroes have reported a huge rise in the number of injured service personnel taking part in sportSeptember 6 - British military charity Help for Heroes have reported a massive 80 per cent increase in wounded veterans, Servicemen and women's participation in sport following the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

One year on from the Paralympics, Help for Heroes have given 1,168 individual sporting grants, compared to the 648 the previous year, ranging from grassroots financial support for new equipment such as handbikes, to funding to help participation at international competitions.

As part of its Paralympic legacy programme, Help for Heroes and the British Paralympic Association have jointly launched "Front Line to Start Line" to introduce injured military personnel and veterans to opportunities in disability sport.

Jon-Allan Butterworth, who was severely injured when an incoming rocket exploded next to him whilst on tour in Iraq in 2007, was one of the first wounded individuals to take part in a Help for Heroes challenge - the Band of Brothers Bike Ride from Portsmouth to Paris six years ago.

Butterworth attended a military Paralympic sports camp in San Diego following the formation of the Battle Back programme in August 2008, and went on to take three silver medals at London 2012.

jonallanbutterworthJon-Allan Butterworth won three silver medals at London 2012 after being inspired by a Help for Heroes event

"I took part in the very first Help for Heroes bike ride in 2008 and it was partly what inspired me to get into cycling," he said.

"London 2012 was such a phenomenal experience and having support from charities like Help for Heroes has enabled me to represent my country once again after injury.

"Being an ambassador for 'Front Line to Start Line' is my opportunity to give back to my wounded comrades and if I can maybe inspire more guys to get on bikes and enjoy all that cycling has to offer then it will be a great success."

The programme includes the identification of individuals who have the potential to represent Britain at Rio 2016 or beyond.

Martin Colclough, head of physical recovery at Help for Heroes said: "Help for Heroes has always understood the important role sport plays in someone's recovery.

"Many people talk about a 'Paralympic Legacy' and the substantial increase in support we have provided in sport demonstrates it in action.

"To us, the Paralympic Legacy is not just about performance athletes, it's about inspiring people at any level to achieve their own personal best in from sport."

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