Help for Heroes charity ditched from Prince Harry's Invictus Games

Royal British Legion will take over the role of leading Team UK

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The UK's Ministry of Defence has removed the charity Help for Heroes from being involved in the Invictus Games, Prince Harry's showcase event for injured military veterans.

Instead, the Royal British Legion will take over recruiting, training and supporting competitors.

Prince Harry has not commented on the change.

In a statement, Help for Heroes said it was not their decision to cease involvement and was "incredibly proud" to have delivered Team UK for the past five Invictus Games.

"However, following extensive discussions, it has been decided by the MOD that the Royal British Legion will lead the end-to-end delivery of Team UK to the Invictus Games for the next five years and will also be the main funder of the programme," it said.

"Unfortunately, therefore, we will no longer be directly involved in Invictus Team UK."

Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014 to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.

He and his wife Meghan attended the most recent games in the Netherlands in April after a whistlestop trip to the UK where he visited his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, causing controversy along the way by suggesting he was checking she had the right people around her.

At the event, he said said many Invictus Games competitors would have taken their own lives had it not been for the sporting event and spoke of his pride in the competitors sitting before him.

The charity, which has been involved with the games since the outset, explained that the MOD considered proposals from the Invictus UK partnership and chose to switch to the Royal British Legion, the charity behind the annual Poppy Appeal.

The legion said it was "excited to be working in partnership" with the MoD to deliver Team UK to the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf in 2023.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hug Lisa Johnston, a former army medic and amputee, who celebrates with her medal at the Invictus Games venue in The Hague, Netherlands. AP Photo

An MOD spokesman said: “The Royal British Legion was able to offer secure funding, more personnel to support the team and a commitment to supporting Team UK into the future. We therefore felt this would be the best choice for Team UK. Our priority is always to ensure Team UK and our wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans get the best experience.

“We remain enormously grateful for all the work Help For Heroes has done to take Team UK to the Invictus Games and continue to work with them to support the Armed Forces community.”

Help for Heroes continued: "Our focus now is on helping more people across the UK, within their communities, as part of keeping our promise to be here for wounded veterans for as long as they need us.

"Since the charity launched in 2007, we have witnessed first-hand the transformative power of sport in both rehabilitation and recovery. But this power of sport extends beyond the Invictus Games. Of course, we will continue to cheer on Team UK and look forward to seeing what the Invictus Games achieves in the future."

Updated: May 18, 2022, 9:38 AM