Phone recyclers get better connected to General’s charity

Help for Heroes founder patron General Lord Dannatt has visited a phone recycling centre in Norfolk to see how our unwanted, outdated technology could be helping the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded servicemen and women from our armed forces.

Phones for Heroes, the charitable arm of mobile phone and accessories supplier Inturn Trading, based at Weston Longville, launched a recycling service less than a year ago to raise money for the services charity.

The former head of the British Army visited the warehouse where the latest batch of phones were being processed and sorted for resale, repair or to be broken down for parts.

Operations manager Johnny Wyndham said 60pc of the profit from the recycling went straight to the charity, which was close to his heart as his brother, Capt George Wyndham, is in the Royal Anglian Regiment and due to deploy to Afghanistan in the next few weeks.

'We get all sorts of phones donated, from 10 years old to 10 months but they all have a value,' he said. 'The first thing is to record where they have come from, then sort them into brands, then models and then test to see if they still work. We also run them through a computer scan to check they are not stolen.'

Project co-ordinator Louise Barrett runs the day-to-day operation, issues the freepost envelopes for people to send their phones back in, and organises sponsorship and supporters who can help with distribution costs.

She is also closely connected with the armed forces as her boyfriend, Jack Brown, is in the Marines and due to deploy to Iraq for three months. 'I went to see the turf cutting at the new Colchester personnel recovery centre and it really reminded us where the money is going to,' she said.

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Lord Dannatt said it was great that a company could have an 'altruistic' side. 'This is a very innovative idea for a business to have a philanthropic arm,' he said. 'We live in a disposable society where if you have finished with something it is junked, but if it has a value and can be put to good use then that is fantastic. I've got a few old bricks at home which I will definitely be sending in now.'

Paying tribute to Norfolk paratrooper Private Lewis Hendry who died last week in Afghanistan, Lord Dannatt said it was all the more important that the public did their bit to help. 'It is a difficult operation in Afghanistan. Unfortunately there will be injuries and fatalities,' he said. 'Everyone has a role to play. If it means going to the cupboard and sending in an old mobile phone then every bit helps, however small.'

To get your Phones for Heroes envelope visit www.phonesforheroes.com or contact Miss Barrett on 01603 882400.

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