Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that he will be donating the proceeds of his soon to be released memoirs to a centre run by the Royal British Legion aimed at rehabilitating seriously injured soldiers.

The Battle Back Challenge Centre is to help injured personnel through sport and outdoor activities, which will aid the physical rehabilitation of soldiers as well as the rebuilding of confidence, before they to the services or to civilian work.

The centre is due to open in summer 2012.

The former Prime Minister has come under considerable criticism since leaving office for the way he has shown no hesitation in taking advantage of his former position to make vast sums of money.

His memoir, entitled The Journey, has also been described as yet another commercial venture for Mr Blair, making his latest gesture something of a surprise.

Just yesterday a long term critic of Tony Blair, Peter Hitchens, described the memoir as an exercise in "vanity" and called on Mr Blair to donate the proceeds to charities for the maimed and bereaved of Iraq and of British soldiers and their families.

However a spokesman for Tony Blair indicated that the plan to donate the proceeds to charity has existed for a long time, although until now there was never any indication that this would be the case.

The spokesman said, "Tony Blair decided on leaving office that he would donate the proceeds of his memoirs to a charity for the Armed Forces as a way of marking the enormous sacrifice they make for the security of our people and the world. The Royal British Legion is just such a cause.

"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."

Chris Simpkins, Director General of the Royal British Legion, welcomed the news saying, "The Legion is delighted to accept this very generous donation which gives an excellent start to our fundraising target of £12m for the Battle Back Challenge Centre and a total of £25m as our contribution to the provision of the world class service for injured personnel for the next 10 years.

"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."