Soldier rehab centre to receive Blair’s memoir royalties

By Alex Stevenson

A rehabilitation centre for wounded service personnel is set to receive all the money Tony Blair makes from his upcoming memoirs.

A spokesman for the former prime minister said Mr Blair would sacrifice all royalties earned on A Journey, which is due out next month, as well as the £4.6 million advance paid by publishers Random House.

The funds will go towards the Battle Back Challenge Centre, where injured soldiers will engage in sport and outdoor activities to help physical rehabilitation and confidence-building.

Mr Blair’s spokesman said the ex-prime minister, who spent ten years in Downing Street from 1997 to 2007, had decided to donate the royalties to the armed forces on leaving office.

He added: “In making this decision, Tony Blair recognises the courage and sacrifice the armed forces demonstrate day in, day out.

“As prime minister he witnessed that for himself in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone and Kosovo. This is his way of honouring their courage and sacrifice.”

The Battle Back Challenge Centre is set to open next year has an initial fundraising target of £12 million.

Chris Simpkins, director general of the Royal British Legion, said: “The culture of the Centre will very much be about what users of the service can do rather than what they can’t but some of the servicemen and women are likely to need the Legion’s support for the rest of their lives.

“Mr Blair’s generosity is much appreciated and will help us to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of hundreds of injured personnel.”

The former prime minister’s book come soon after Peter Mandelson’s memoirs, The Third Man, which revealed some of the tensions at the heart of the New Labour project between Mr Blair and his chancellor, Gordon Brown.

Mr Brown – ousted from No 10 after the general election resulted in the formation of a coalition government – has said he does not intend to publish any memoirs in the near future.