A BRAVE ex-soldier battling cancer has seen his range of tasty sauces hit supermarket shelves – as he hopes to raise a million pounds for charity.
Launched nationally in Tesco in June 2013, Forces Sauces is a range of great tasting, Great British sauces. It is a unique charity initiative inspired by Veteran Bob Barrett.
Former Household Cavalry trooper Bob Barrett and founder of The Beef Kitchen launched bottles of Corporal Ketchup and Brigadier Brown sauces with proceeds helping hundreds of struggling ex-servicemen and women.
Bob, 63, who suffers from the blood cancer non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and is wheelchair-bound, came up with the Forces Sauces idea to repay the debt to the charity that helped him.
He was battling alcoholism and facing homelessness when the Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation – founded in 1916 for servicemen suffering long-lasting injuries – gave him a home overlooking Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground in 2005.
He soon set up The Beef Kitchen next to the stadium serving hot food to around 300 footie fans on match days with proceeds going to Stoll.
Then, in 2009 dreamed up the idea of making money from his own sauces and yesterday they went on sale across the country.
He joked: “I’d love to make a million but let’s just get it in the supermarkets first.
“It’s madness to think a simple idea I had has been produced on a mass-scale and will help raise money for veterans with every bottle sold.
“I was sitting in my flat in December 2009 and the penny just dropped one day. I thought we could make the sauces ourselves and give the money we make to good causes.
“Immediately, I got one of the chefs that help us on match day to come up with a few recipes.
The bottles are on sale in Tesco costing £2.19 with 6p from each bottle being split between Stoll and the Royal British Legion.
Bob praised Stoll charity for backing the idea all the way. He said: “The people at Stoll had the know-how and were able to register the name and get a big manufacturer involved to get it off the ground. I may have had the initial idea but they have made it work.”
Bob joined the Life Guards aged 16 serving for four years but didn’t see active service.
He moved to Australia with his wife but returned working in the car industry. But his marriage broke down in 1998 and he turned to alcohol ending up losing his house.
He believes without the charity’s backing in 2005 his life could now be very different.
He said: “I had a drink problem, had nowhere to live and Stoll put me back on the right footing.
“It could have been very different for me. I could have been a victim of alcoholism and I may not have got the treatment I needed for my cancer which I found out about two weeks after they gave me a flat.
“You hear of charities for the armed forces. You think they look after the big-name heroes but they were there for me. I will always be eternally grateful, they helped me turn my life around.”
BBC London reporter Alice Bhandhukravi spoke with Robert Barrett and chef Ed Sargent. Click here
Sources: The Sun newspaper, BBC London