Leeds veterans launch competitions with luxury prizes raising money for retired soldiers in need
Two veterans from Leeds have launched an innovative business raising money for other retired soldiers in need.
Brendan Hickinson and his business partner Aaron Willis, both 39, run The Veterans Competitions to raise cash for charities supporting those who have left the armed forces.
The company hosts online raffles and competitions with luxury prizes, including cash and a brand new Audi RSQ3.
A portion of all ticket sales goes to SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity, with any profits made donated to other charities and used to support veterans in times of need.
Brendan's motivation behind the company is personal.
He is a former soldier of 29 Commando Regiment, serving seven years in the Royal Citadel in Plymouth and two operational tours in Afghanistan.
Brendan's close friend from the Regiment, Phillip Hardwell, became very ill with a heart condition last year and spent seven months in Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire - four hours away from his home in Bristol.
SSAFA stepped in and covered accommodation costs to allow Phillips's family to be by his side until an urgent heart transplant was found.
Phillip is now recovering well, but Brendan was blown away by SSAFA's support and vowed to do something to help the charity.
Brendan said: "People have been really supportive, we've had a lot of responses saying it's a good cause.
“For every ticket we sell, a donation goes to SSAFA.
"With the profits, we want to go out and find veterans who live on the streets across the UK, put them in accommodation and get them back on their feet and back in employment."
The company is going from strength to strength and Brendan is now looking to expand to support other Leeds charities.
He added: "I’ve had a lot of friends who have struggled with PTSD and not really had any help from it. That inspires me to try and reach out and help these lads who have come onto the civilian street and just left there.
"I just had to do something."
You can find out more about The Veterans Competitions here.Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.