NOMINATIONS have now closed for the annual Let's Do It awards. The Observer has been swamped with entries as hundreds of readers wrote in to say why a particular group or charity should receive the prize money.The judging panel will meet tomorrow (Friday) to begin the difficult task of deciding on a winner. ROBERTO BARROS profiles some of the many deserving charities vying for the prize.
A CHARITY that helps limbless ex-servicemen and women to get their lives back on track was one of those nominated for Barclays Let's Do It prize.
The British Limbless Ex-Servicemen Association (BLESMA) supports men and women of all ages who have lost a limb serving in any branch of her majesty's forces, as well as their dependents and widows.
Members can enjoy holiday accommodation in two country houses, financial assistance in the form of grants, counselling services, assistance in finding employment, and rehabilitation services.
BLESMA began as an idea by wounded soldiers who struggled to make a living after returning to Glasgow from the horror of the First World War.
It became a charity in 1932 and last year celebrated its 75th anniversary.
Today, it helps over 4,200 amputees of different ages who served Great Britain in the Second World War, the Falklands, Korea, as well as the more recent conflicts and peace-keeping operations.
It was nominated for Barclays Let's Do It Community Awards by Jim Lawrence, 79, of Kingfishers Close.
Mr Lawrence, an ex-Sergeant Major of the British Parachute regiment, volunteers for the charity twice a year, collecting donations in Harrow super-markets and said the group needs "all the help it can get".
One of the things that inspired Mr Lawrence to nominate BLESMA was that it helped a fellow compatriot who had lost his legs to a car bomb planted by the IRA in Colchester more than 20 years ago.
He said: "We're getting plenty of young members coming to BLESMA. We get young guys coming in there and they are fixed for life.
"When I am doing my collection in Harrow, people put a pound coin in my collection box. It would be good to get a thousand pounds in one lump for the limbless boys that have given so much."