A WEEK of sports from wheelchair rugby to dog sled racing united poorly veterans and serving personnel from around the country.

Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick hosted the Help for Heroes’ annual Winter Games for the first time which welcomed competitors from each of the charity’s four recovery centres as well as Welsh team.

Dog sled racing was the opening event and proved to be one of the highlights thanks to the 25 Alaskan Malamute dogs which pulled opponents along a track with boundless energy.

Other sports included new age curling, archery, stand-up paddle boarding and a

trip to Silksworth Ski Slope

in Sunderland for snow-tubing.

A team from Colchester were the victors overall and Mark Airey, physical development coach at Phoenix House, said: “These Games are all part of our sports recovery programme, which does what it says on the tin.

“It’s all about using sport to bond with teams again, make friends and compete – all with a competitive edge to it. It’s good to see the teams grow and develop throughout the week.”

Integral Team Catterick member John Schmidt, aged 46, has served in warzones from Kosovo to Iraq and Afghanistan in continuity intelligence.

“It’s very hard for me to find a buzz after the adrenalin rush of conflict but I’ve found it again through sports,” said Mr Schmidt who has suffered from PTSD and is now a mental health support worker.