THE widow of a Salisbury Army veteran has won a competition to have her photography featured in Help for Heroes’ new 2023 calendar.
Tanya Warren, 57, is one of six amateur snappers from the Armed Forces community to have her talents showcased in the calendar, which celebrates the great outdoors and is on sale now.
Her photo, which illustrates the month of December, captures Highland cattle on a crisp morning at River Bourne Community Farm.
Tanya said: “I was a carer for my husband, Bill [Brig. Robert William Warren, MBE], after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He reached out to other charities, but Help for Heroes was the only one that could offer emotional support.”
Bill received counselling from Help for Heroes and Tanya was introduced to its fellowship events, including gardening workshops, a respite weekend, and photography courses.
Tanya said: “I felt really isolated being a carer. Meeting people during this difficult time in my life helped me to look after myself, so I could look after my husband.”
Tanya’s husband passed away in 2019 at the age of 58, having lost his battle with bowel cancer. She said Help for Heroes helped her cope with her loss, which was made even more difficult due to isolation caused by the pandemic.
Tanya said: “After I lost my husband in 2019, the pandemic hit – grief and facing the unknown felt overwhelming. Help for Heroes gave me hope and a sense of belonging.
“During the pandemic, I signed up to the Help for Heroes online photography courses. These courses have been a lifeline. I’ve met some amazing people on the way, learnt new skills and developed a new hobby which I’m passionate about.”
Tanya said the course leader is very approachable, knowledgeable and gives excellent guidance.
She added: “When I found out that my image would be part of the 2023 calendar, I was over the moon. I can’t wait for other people to enjoy the calendar.”
Help for Heroes’ launched photography courses during lockdown to help veterans in their recovery through fighting social isolation, providing a routine and generating a sense of pride and achievement.
Since then, the virtual and face-to-face meet-ups with professional photographer Siorna Ashby have attracted hundreds of veterans and their families. who all learn how to improve their picture-taking skills, whether they are using a camera or a mobile phone.
To ensure delivery before Christmas, the deadline to order the Help for Heroes 2023 veterans’ calendar is December 16.