I have been passionate about sport all of my life as a professional rugby player, keen golfer and athlete. Since retiring I have had the opportunity to take part in many other sports including the Artemis Great Quadrathlon as well as other endurance based events and I still get a huge amount of satisfaction from sport. I cannot imagine a life where sport would not be a part of it. For me enjoying sport and raising money to help support good causes is a hugely satisfying and important feeling to know you are putting something back into society and helping others.
You only have to look at the incredible inspiration and legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and how it galvanised a nation to re engage with sport whether able bodied or disabled. I am really looking forward to the Rio Olympics and Paralympics this year.
What Prince Harry has done with the Invictus Games is incredible! He has single handedly raised the media and public profile of our wounded veterans on a global level to highlight the immense courage and bravery of our injured service men and women. They are simply inspirational to see in action. I was also very fortunate to visit Headley Court, the military hospital where our injured service men and women are treated to see firsthand incredible bravery, heroism, self determination and courage to overcome life changing injuries, these men and women are an inspiration to us all.
This week will see the launch of my 4th annual ISPS Handa celebrity golf classic at the Belfry golf course supported by ISPS Handa and Artemis. Myself and a number of celebrities will be raising funds to help two very important charities - Rugby For Heroes and the Matt Hampson Foundation.
Rugby For Heroes through the sport of rugby raises funds to help military servicemen and women make the often difficult transition from military life to civilian life. These transitions could be from the simple tasks of helping and mentoring service leavers with writing a CV or help finding them employment, housing or more serious and complex issues they may have suffered from years of service. Often when service men and women leave the military they receive very little help in their resettlement, we owe them a huge debt of gratitude and should help them reintegrate back into society.
Matt Hampson's Foundation helps inspire and support young people who have been seriously injured through sport. The Foundation encourages and supports young people to get back into sport and helps them to cope with adapting to their new life. The foundation was created following Matt's accident in 2005 when during an England Under 21 rugby training session he suffered serious injury when a scrum collapsed making his injuries the most catastrophic that any rugby player had ever sustained on the field and left him paralysed from the neck down and breathing via the aid of a ventilator.
Despite his injuries Matt set up the foundation and it is testament to him that he did so in order that others who have suffered similar catastrophic injuries through sport can receive support and assistance. Matt Hampson is simply an inspirational character to so many people and I am glad we can this year help support his charity.
Like many other professional rugby players and sportsmen I went through my own transition process having given up professional rugby. I had a fantastic career playing for Bath and Gloucester and I was also very lucky to have played for my country, achieving so much with England having played with and against some great rugby players. When you live each day with regimented and disciplined training, diet and conditioning, it's very hard to adapt to normal life afterwards. Strangely you miss the training regimes, the camaraderie and working as part of a team. In a very small way, I can relate to that camaraderie, the team work and the bond that the military have, although I can only imagine what service men and women have gone through in their own life transitions and how hard that adaption must be when they return to civilian life after serving in the military.
We have been very lucky to have been supported by ISPS Handa and Artemis for the past four years who have sponsored our golf event and who both share the same vision to inspire and support these charities.
The ISPS Handa Mike Tindall Celebrity Golf Classic is sponsored by ISPA Handa and Artemis and takes place at the Belfry Golf course this Friday 20 May.
Mike Tindall MBE is Patron to Rugby For Heroes, The Matt Hampson Foundation & Ambassador to The Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. For more information, to make a donation and to support Rugby For Heroes or The Matt Hampson Foundation please go to rugbyforheroes.org.uk or matthampsonfoundation.org